There are so many things I use my phone for such as calling, texting, reading books, playing games, listening to music and watching movies. But if you are nurse in Zimbabwe right now you could also use that phone to deliver a baby. That’s how dire the situation is in our local hospitals and clinics.
Electricity shortages have crippled local hospitals and clinics such that the generators and solar systems they once considered to be backup power sources are now main power sources. Unfortunately, these backup-turned-main power sources are not adequate to power the health institutions for more hours than they can go beyond providing power. According to Herald, Harare city Health services director,Dr Prosper Chonzi said:
We have solar back-ups and generators, but unfortunately these are no longer back-ups, but they have become the main source, hence around 3am batteries would be flat, and that is when most deliveries usually take place. So, sometimes people end up using torches, cellphone….
A nurse at a Mbare clinic confirmed this by saying:
We have noticed with great concern that at our clinic that the solar system is no longer reliable, forcing us to use torches, candles and phone torches during baby deliveries. Not only is this not safe for us, but very risky to the expecting mothers.
Instead of using mobile torches, nurses are asking expecting mothers to bring their own candles to provide light in delivery room. But even so, it’s not helping to prevent infant deaths. The nurse went on to say:
We have also been experiencing stillbirths over the past months. We actually tell the expecting mothers to bring their own candles since we are
Dr. Chonzi also said:
In Mbare, a baby was born with mucus blocking its nasal passage, and since there was no electricity,
the mucus could not be sucked out, leading to death of the baby.
In another case, a baby was born with the umbilical cord tied around the neck and due to lack of lighting, the umbilical cord could not be untied on time.
There are also four maternal mortality cases recorded, but three of them were already dead when they arrived at our clinics, while one passed away while giving birth.
This is so sad. If ZESA cannot make exceptions for health institutions in switching off their electricity then government should now allocate money to councils to buy additional generators and solar systems.
Image credit: CNET
Also read: Strive Masiyiwa Says, “I Could Have Solved Zim’s Power Crisis 12 Years Ago BUT Corruption”
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