The Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) has called on authorities to act swiftly in addressing the electricity challenges facing the country adding that no line connecting a health facility should be affected by the load shedding.
The network has also demanded that installation of solar panels to 85 health facilities by Ministry of Health be accelerated and be extended to all health facilities to avoid what it called blackout-orchestrated deaths.
In a press statement released on Wednesday signed by Mhen executive director George Jobe and Board Chairperson Edward Chileka-Banda, the network says following media reports on the death that occurred at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe due to power blackouts, it conducted an independent inquiry where it learnt that one life was lost on December 24, 2017 between 6:00 to 6.30 pm due to a power blackout which hit the whole of Lilongwe and some parts of the Central Region.
It said in addition to losing lives, blackouts are also undermining and frustrating efforts of health workers.
Reads the statement in part: “When a 15 to 30-minute blackout occurred on December 24 from around 6:00 o’clock in the evening; the generator that serves the children’s ward did not start automatically because its sensors had developed a fault.
“Health workers worked hard to save lives of two children who had just been moved into the ward and in the process saving one and losing the other.”
Nonetheless, Mhen hailed officers at the hospital for working so hard to save patients in that desperate moment.