Swaziland
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MEDICAL CRISIS: CORRUPTION FIGHTS BACK

THE headline ‘Drug probe order will collapse health – govt’ was meant to sound the alarm within our kingdom.

This is an order basically stopping government from continuing to investigate the corruption that is taking place within the Ministry of Health. Without getting into details, government is trying to get the Industrial Court to discharge its order that is stopping government from proceeding with the forensic investigation against two senior health officials. Following a public outcry on the shortage of medication in our public health facilities across the country, government sprang into action as the Auditor General (AG), Timothy Matsebula, initiated a forensic investigation into the irregularities within the ministry. Soon, thereafter, an audit report, dated August 25, 2022, on the acquisition and distribution of medication to public health facilities was presented by the AG to the minister of Finance for consideration by Cabinet. The report would soon open a can of worms that triggered a chain of events involving bribery allegations and other accusations of misconduct. Corruption fought back as the situation in public health facilities continued to deteriorate. This has continued to the extent that a story was published, which implied that we should bring our own bandages to public hospitals. One friend said they gave him a prescription for Panado to go and buy in town.

Corruption everywhere  

South African Political Cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, known by his pen name Zapiro, would have had a field day with this medication fiasco. I can imagine drawing a cartoon of a big venomous snake coiled around a struggling sheep that is gasping for every breath. Standing not far would be greedy lions waiting in anticipation and a pack of hyenas waiting to snatch the sheep from the mouth of the snake. The snake is at its most vulnerable state when its mouth is fully extended and is consuming its prey. Corruption is everywhere. The sheep is the healthcare system that is being crashed by the snake, which is corruption.

Powerful forces from above

The sheep is very vulnerable after the snakebite, which is corruption. To make the situation even worse is that looking on are the lions, which represent powerful forces who are positioning themselves to take the prize. On the surface, these powers are offering to solve the situation. Their solution is not helping the Ministry of Finance and the AG to fight corruption, but these forces are rumoured to be advocating for the national acquisition and distribution of medication to public health facilities to be done through an institution around Sidvokodvo. This institution has done great work for the country, one can’t take that away from them, but to give them full management of the acquisition and distribution of medication to public health facilities in the whole country is reckless. Having a foreign family manage the whole country’s medication acquisition and distribution process will take us back to colonial times and compromise our healthcare system. Can you imagine buying medication and equipment from America in Dollars; this might not happen immediately but believe me it will happen. I am sure that this is just a bad joke and there is no truth in it.

Private business ‘hyenas’  

On the other hand we have hyenas in the form of private businesses operating in Eswatini. They have been positioning themselves and have acquired many strategic health facilities around the country with the hope of slowly taking over our healthcare system. Do not get me wrong, I believe there is a role for private businesses in our healthcare system, but I am skeptical that they can solve the present health crises. It is very apparent that the private businesses, according to the AG’s report, have been part of facilitators of corruption. When they take over the prices of medicines, health services might appear to be efficient but will be too expensive for the ordinary liSwati to the extent that government will collapse.

Snake venom

Corruption acts like snake venom in four ways just like the four types of venom. Venom kills through the action of at least four major classes of toxins, namely; neurotoxins/and cytotoxins, which kill cells; neurotoxins, which affect nervous systems; mycotoxins, which damage muscles; and hemotoxins, which disrupt blood clotting. The cells are the building blocks of the human body and corruption kills our ability to look after our health including our building blocks as a society; our children and elderly, the very foundation of life. Once our central nervous system is affected by corruption, we get confusion, aggressive behaviour (like we experienced during the June 2021unrest) hallucinations (revolution through social media), seizures, delirium, coma (leadership vacuum) and the death of the State (failed State). Mycotoxins, which damage muscles, meaning State organs can’t do what they are meant to do. We see courts failing the State and the people. Parliament cannot move even with the best of intentions.

Hemotoxins disrupt blood clotting, creating continuous bleeding (this is the continuous bleeding of money throughout the system) and the creation of blood clots with their own complications. Blood clots can end up in the lungs, heart, brain or other areas if they break away and travel through the blood. Corrupt practices are like clots and can break away and move throughout the health system, leading to major blockages as we have seen in our hospitals and clinics. Clot migrations can lead to serious complications as the clot disrupts the flow of blood to important organs (our hospitals). This can result in a heart attack or stroke to a human body and the effect of corruption is the same with a country. Corruption fights back using the very people and institutions that were meant to protect emaSwati. Corrupt officials have millions in their bank accounts to fight using their constitutionally given rights, while taking away the right of others to life. The spiritual being is put in a hypnotic state where it can see but does not care, and is only concerned about self-preservation and enrichment.  Comment septembereswatini@gmail.com