Power cuts trigger spike in hospital deaths

BY JAMES MUONWA

Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital, a major referral health centre for Mashonaland West province, has sent a distress call to power authorities to spare it from load-shedding that has seen it go without electricity most of the time.

As a result, many patients, including those with chronic diseases and accident victims, were dying needlessly after failing to get timely interventions that require electricity.

In his 2019 half-year overview report, which NewsDay has in possession, hospital medical superintendent Collet Mawire, decried the avoidable deaths of
patients, urging the Health Services Board to find lasting solutions to end the power crisis at the giant medical centre.

“Currently, the hospital is facing critical problems in this aspect of electricity and water supply.

“Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital operations are being hampered to the extent of losing patients as a result of load-shedding by Zesa,” he said.

Mawire said power cuts were mostly hindering operations in departments such as the intensive care unit, cardiology, renal, neo-natal units and operating
theatres, where some patients would be on life-support machines.

“Power cuts are causing increased risk to lives of such patients and sometimes even loss of life,” he said.

The 422-bed hospital relies on two standby generators, which often break down and require 300 litres of diesel daily to run them.

Due to the steep prices and unavailability of fuel, Mawire opined that the parent Health and Child Care ministry and other agencies should approach Zesa to
negotiate construction of a dedicated power line to the hospital or secure funds to install solar energy systems to save lives.

Mawire also noted that the institution’s staffing was inadequate as there are 279 nurses out of an ideal complement of 350, while there are five specialist
doctors out of a possible 10.

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1 Comment

  1. According to the report, how many deaths could have been averted had there been electricity?

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