Monday 2 March 2020


SOME emergency services at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo are down following theft of electricity cables that plunged the institution into darkness on Sunday.

Patients could not be fed on schedule yesterday as one of the biggest referral hospitals in the country resorted to coal to cook food.  The renal or kidney unit was reported to be the most affected as operations were suspended completely.

A majority of departments resorted to diesel powered generators to ensure service. 

When a Chronicle news crew visited the institution yesterday at around 1 PM patients in different wards had not yet received their meals.  Kidney patients in the renal unit were disconnected from dialysis machines as the generator could not power equipment at the unit.

In an interview yesterday, Mpilo Hospital CEO Mr Leonard Mabandi confirmed the blackout saying the hospital was grappling with an extra expense of purchasing fuel for the generators.

“We do not have power at the hospital since last night following theft of a power line that feeds the hospital. Due to the blackout we are using generators to power the critical areas and that is hitting us on fuel. It has also affected preparation of food in the kitchen and has resulted in patients experiencing delays in having their meals,” he said.

“We have managed to power the theatres and the wards from the generators. When I spoke to the Zesa people they assured us by 4PM they would have restored power.” 

Mr Mabandi said if the outage persists, the hospital might run out of fuel for the generators interrupting flow of operations for the entire institution.

“For now, we have enough fuel to run the hospital but if the problem persists, we will come to a point where we will run out of fuel. Accessing the fuel will depend on the situation. If it is available, we will definitely have access to it but if it is not it can be at our own disadvantage because the city has been experiencing fuel shortages for quite some time.”

Mpilo Head of Renal Unit Dr Shepperd Kajowa said: “Normally when there is a blackout there is supposed to be a generator that covers this unit but for some reason it does not power the water plant. So, our patients have not been managing.

“We have tried to connect them to the machines but because we are not getting water, we have disconnected them. We just hope the issue will be quickly sorted out so that there will be a smooth flow of dialysis,” he said.

Some patients whose kindeys would have stopped functioning need to be hooked to the machines at least twice a week just to keep  alive.

Renal failure is a medical condition where kidneys cease to function. All the waste from the body, including urine, would then have to be removed using a dialysis machine.  
If the waste is not removed, the patient swells up with toxins and dies a painful death.

Contacted for comment Zesa Southern Region Manager Engineer Lovemore Chinaka said Barbourfields and Mzilikazi suburb were the other areas that were affected.

He said power could be restored by 5PM.  Last night the hospital was still in darkness.


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