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» » » Power crisis incapacitates Chipinge Hospital

…no water for patients to bath
…pre-mature children dying in incubators

Knowledge Mhlanga

While the on-going load shedding by Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) is affecting operations at all hospitals in the country, conditions at Chipinge District Hospital have become particularly dire, with water becoming scarcer and pre-mature babies dying in switched off incubators.

Reports indicate that the hospital, which serves several communities around Chipinge, is struggling with water challenges leading to deplorable hygienic standards.

The little water that becomes available per day is being used for more critical issues such as cleaning of injuries, drinking and cooking.

Functions that are considered non-critical, for example scrubbing of floors and cleaning of linen, are being sidelined, leading to fears of new infections within the hospital.

Sources at the hospital said the electric-powered borehole was of no use when power is switched off.

One senior staff member said government should help the institution install solar power in order to solve the problem.

“We are in a state of complete paralysis because without water and electricity, serving patients becomes more difficult. We are doing all we can to do our jobs under the harshest conditions but it’s all in vain most of the times. Patients cannot take a bath regularly and we can’t use the toilets with ease,” said the staff member.

The source added that such critical units as maternity wards now had to devise new ways of attending to expectant mothers under candle light and with very little or no water.

“Pre-mature children are dying because the incubators are off most of the times. Every medical practitioner finds it heartbreaking to see children with the potential to live failing to get the requisite support and dying as a result,” the source said.

It was also revealed that some drugs were going bad due to lack of consistent refrigeration in the pharmacy while the situation is no better at the mortuary too.

“Some drugs need refrigeration while the mortuary requires power all the time. The situation is worse than what many people think,” said the source.

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