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    Swaziland's public health services grinding to a halt

    Al Jazeera English

    by Al Jazeera English

    Striking workers in Swaziland have been ordered to return to work by the government, or risk losing their jobs. Civil servants including teachers and medical staff have been striking for over a month demanding a pay raise of 4.5 per cent, but authorities are refusing to increase their salaries. On Wednesday almost 3,000 teachers took to the streets in two towns of Siketi and Umhlanga, according to Sibongile Mazibuko, the president of Swaziland National Association of Teachers. Government officials of one of the only surviving monarchy's in Africa, say that they cannot afford the pay rise. Instead, they have given the striking public workers a Monday deadline to get back to work, or be fired. But strikers say they will not return to work until their demands are met. They blame the country's problems on the state-funded extravagance of King Mswati, rated by Forbes magazine as among the world's richest royals, and his refusal to implement democratic reforms. More than 60 per cent of the country's 1.1 million people live on less than $2 a day. With few nurses at work and drugs in short supply, the tiny nation's health system has also been severely affected. Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa reports from Swaziland.