SITEKI: Nurses who treat COVID-19 patients at the Lubombo Referral Hospital were yesterday kicked out of Siteki Hotel where they were accommodated by government to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus by preventing them from interacting with members of the public.
The nurses told this Swaziland News that they received a notice on Thursday afternoon to vacate the hotel premises by 7am on Friday, the justification communicated to them by the government was that the country was now running out of cash to pay the bill.
Reached for comments, Bheki Mamba, the President of the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union(SWADNU) condemned the conduct of the government saying alternative accommodation should be provided for these health workers who might be stigmatized by members of the public merely for treating COVID-19 patients at the Lubombo Referral Hospital.
“These nurses and other health care workers have already been stigmatized hence they cannot interact with other people without drawing unnecessary discomfort because they are known to be caring for COVID 19 patients. In the event government find it expensive where they had been accommodated, she should arrange for suitable accommodation where they will stay together” he said.
A nurse who spoke to this publication said he was not happy with the way government ordered them to vacate the hotel without providing alternative accommodation for them.
“We were chased like dogs, no notice but it was just an order that we should leave by 7am” said the inside source.
Acting Government Spokesperson Sabelo Dlamini said to the best of his knowledge, these were recruit nurses who were posted next to their home stations and where not supposed to stay at the hotel in the first place.
“This is an operational matter Mlangeni that can be adequately addressed by the Ministry of Health. The brief information I have received is that these are recruit nurses who were posted next to their home stations and were not supposed to stay in the hotel in the first place. The rest of the senior staff taken from different health centres to assist at Lubombo remain in the hotel. For full details please contact the Minister of Health”
Efforts to reach the Minister of Health proved unsuccessful at the time of compiling this report.