Ambulance shortage in eSwatini

Friday June 15 2018

Ambulances.

There are only 12 functioning ambulances in the Kingdom of eSwatini, formerly Swaziland, a nation of more than 1.3 million people. PHOTO | FILE 

By ARNALDO VIEIRA
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There are only 12 functioning ambulances in the Kingdom of eSwatini, formerly Swaziland, a nation of more than 1.3 million people.

The revelation was made by a top health official in the tiny southern African country.

Mr Masitsela Mhlanga, the Ministry of Health’s director of Emergency Preparedness Response Department, was quoted by the Times of Swaziland newspaper saying this was “because 20 ambulances were parked at the Central Transport Administration garage where they were taken for repairs.”

Mr Mhlanga said the department was struggling but has requested for 54 ambulances from the government.

He said the department needed at least 60 ambulances to offer medical emergency services effectively.

The country, landlocked between South Africa and Mozambique, has a life expectancy of 58 years.

According to the World Health Organisation, eSwatini has the world's highest prevalence of HIV/Aids-infected adults, at about 26 per cent of people aged 15-49. Other leading causes of death include heart diseases, stroke, influenza and pneumonia.

The country is one of the world’s few absolute monarchs.

King Mswati, 50, who succeeded his father King Sobhuza II in 1986 aged 18, rules by decree.

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