Thursday, 21 March 2019


OVER 300 patients who require surgery risk developing life threatening complications following breakdown of anaesthetic machines at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo.

The referral hospital which is operating with only four anaesthetic machines out of 10 is now being forced to put patients requiring surgery on a waiting list.

An anaesthetic or anaesthesia machine is a gas medical device used to generate and mix a fresh gas flow of medical gases and inhalational anaesthetic agents for purposes of inducing and maintaining anaesthesia. 

Mpilo clinical director, Dr Solwayo Ngwenya told The Chronicle in an interview yesterday that the hospital was in dire need of the machines in order to carry out operations in time.

“We need anaesthetic machines, there are only four. The other three broke down and we cannot get spare parts because they need forex and these are specialised machines.

So, people coming here that require surgery in our out-patients department are being told to wait. There is a long waiting list so the figures are piling up and people are being told to wait three months to six months and some to next year, for operations,” said Dr Ngwenya.

He said there were about 300 people awaiting surgery. Dr Ngwenya said the situation was bad as it could lead to further complications in patients whose surgeries are delayed.

“So the major problem is people coming from out-patient, they end up having to wait sometime with life threatening conditions like cancer and they have to wait for months and it’s not ideal.

We don’t want people to be waiting at home and having complications while at home. So we are appealing to donors and others to assist us get more machines or at least getting the broken ones repaired,” said Dr Ngwenya.

He said the institution has 10 theatre rooms which need to be equipped with machines.

“We only have four machines that are working. For now we do about 20 surgeries a day and that includes all the operations and caesarean deliveries,” said Dr Ngwenya.

He said from the four machines, one was dedicated for caesarean deliveries. Dr Ngwenya said the population in the country had grown and there was pressure on the institution as it catered for almost half of the country.

Mpilo Central Hospital serves five out of the country’s 10 provinces; Bulawayo, Masvingo, Midlands, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South.

“All of them are now depending on those four machines and that is why the waiting list is growing,” he said. Chronicle


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