Africa-Press – Eswatini. Government has spent over E31 million on medical drugs and part of the consignment catering for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has been delivered.

The medication was delivered on Wednesday to the Central Medical Stores (CMS) and it was still being captured into the system yesterday. The arrival of the consignment was monitored by the Principal Pharmacist, Nomsa Shongwe and the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Khanyakwezwe Mabuza.

Minister of Health Mduduzi Matsebula informed the nation that the prevailing medicine and medical supplies shortage crisis is progressively being rectified. Matsebula said the ministry was aware of the crisis and sincerely apologised to emaSwati for the impact that this shortage issue has on the health of the nation, particularly the shortage of critical medication for NCDs.

He said the ministry is working round the clock to resolve this issue and further expressed assurance to the nation that stocks of medicines and medical supplies were gradually being received. Matsebula said: “Yesterday (Wednesday), a sizeable stock of medicine was delivered to the CMS. This consignment has various medications, particularly critical medication used to treat some NCDs such as diabetes and hypertension.” He revealed that among the stock there was the much-anticipated diabetes medication. The minister said there was also a batch of medication for hypertension.


This stock, he said, was enough to cover all public healthcare facilities nationwide, which include clinics, health centres and hospitals. He said the ministry was working with the CMS to ensure that these medicines were dispatched urgently to all public healthcare centres in all regions of Eswatini.

It is worth noting that some of the medications needed for the treatment of diabetics are: Metformin, dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and dual GLP-1/gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP) receptor agonists, sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, sulfonylureas and thiasolidinediones (TZDs).

Meanwhile, Matsebula said the ministry was working diligently on strategies to make sure that there was sustainability in terms of medicine and medical supplies provided at all public healthcare facilities. These strategies, he said, would be implemented so that the stocks were kept at acceptable levels. He said it included digitalising the processes to ensure a regular and uninterrupted supply of quality medicines and medical supplies, as well as improving the controls and security.

The minister said while his portfolio worked on improving the status of stock levels, they were also prioritising improving other critical healthcare areas such as the shortage of ambulances, decentralisation and continuous provision of renal dialysis services, human resource shortages and dilapidated structures that require refurbishment, among others.

He said: “Therefore, we plead for patience from the Nation while we continuously work to strengthen the public healthcare sector and ensure that we emerge from the existing crisis. With collaborated efforts, the Ministry and emaSwati will ensure that this undesirable status of the country’s public healthcare sector is changed.”

It is worth noting that the public health sector had been brought to its knees with the shortage of medical drugs such that following a series of reports by this publication and exposes on the how retail pharmacies were capitalising on the shortage, the ministry instituted a forensic investigation. The forensic investigation established a series of anomalies at the CMS, which included that theft of medical drugs and poor inventory at the CMS.

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