Patients at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) are having to endure additional pain as they move up and down the three-storey hospital’s staircase following the breaking down of the elevator three days ago.
The hospital has since employed porters to help carry some of the patients through the stairs.
A visit by The Nation to KCH yesterday established that the lift had been down for three days as of yesterday, putting both patients and dead bodies at the mercy of porters.
KCH hospital director Jonathan Ngoma said in an interview yesterday the development is not new at the hospital, adding the elevator is too old for effective functioning.
Said Ngoma: “The elevator is just a machine and for it to break down it is not a surprise at all. However, it has become difficult to have it repaired because it is of a very old model so much that the supplier is struggling to provide us with its spare parts since there aren’t many buildings using such model of elevators anymore.”
He said the situation has forced the hospital to employ porters to carry patients and dead bodies up and down the three floors.
Ngoma added that guardians are not restricted from carrying their own patients as others may want to help or do it themselves.
However, when The Nation visited the hospital around noon yesterday, several guardians, including Eunice Banda, were seen struggling with either relatives or well-wishers to carry their patients up the hospital stairs as the porters were on lunch break.
Banda, who was assisting her wheel-chair bound husband up the hospital stairs with the aid of relations, said she resorted to doing it herself because she could not afford to wait for the lunch hour to end and risk missing medication time for her ailing husband.
One of the porters, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said at times they have carried up to seven dead bodies in a day in addition to many patients who are too weak to move on their own.
Ngoma said the hospital has since recommended to have the elevator replaced and government has since advertised in the local media for a competent supplier to express their interest through a competitive bidding process.
He said: “Interested suppliers have already submitted their bids and as we speak the process is underway to identify a replacement of the lift.”
This is not the first time the hospital’s elevator has broken down. Since 2014, Lilongwe Water Board has been paying for the elevator repairs but it is so old that spare parts are hard to find on the market, even from Otis, the manufacturer, according Ngoma.