Intermittent supply of water and power is compounding challenges of lack of equipment and drugs that some health facilities are already experiencing, leading to continuing poor delivery of health services.
The problems the twin devils are causing to the public health facilities have led to failure by medical personnel to conduct operations, posing danger to lives of many patients.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health Juliana Lunguzi said in an interview on Friday her committee was worried that water and power problems are becoming widespread at public health facilities.
Lunguzi said it is unfortunate that the problems pile on the already inadequate procurement of drugs and essential equipment in facilities due to poor funding, rendering medical personnel helpless.
Machinga District Hospital, one of the facilities Nation on Sunday visited, bears testimony to these woes as a mother and her baby died in February this year due to power failure at the facility.
The worst scenario of water woes at Machinga District Hospital has since forced the facility to send beddings, linen and uniforms, among others, to Balaka District Hospital and Zomba Central Hospital for laundry.
At the hospital, expectant women and guardians have to draw water in buckets from a borehole, which has an improvised tap, for bathing, washing, cooking and for use in toilets.
“If you are here with a patient, you would require a minimum of five pails to do all the required work of the day.
“By the time we retire to bed, we are always exhausted as we look forward to another day of struggle,” complained one expectant woman at the borehole, adding they have no option because water is life and an essential commodity for someone who is ill.
Another aged woman, Agatha Milanzie, who had a bucket of water on his head weighing her down, said patients continue using the toilets even when they have no running water because they have no choice.
“The toilets are inside and patients cannot go out at night, so they have no option. In the morning, it is like a routine to draw water to flash the toilets. It is not a healthy situation. It is tough life here,” Milanzie said.
In an interview last month, Machinga District Hospital spokesperson Clitfon Ngozo said although death is inevitable, there are measures health facilities put in place to prevent unnecessary deaths.
“Death may occur due to different reasons, but in February this year, we had a case where we had no electricity power. We switched on our generator, but unknown to us; it was faulty and not putting out the required energy.
“Our doctors were a t that moment conducting an operation on the woman who was being helped to deliver. But with the faulty generator that failed to put out the required power, we sadly lost both the mother and the baby,” he said.
Executive director for Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) George Jobe, in a response to a questionnaire, said the desire by most Malawians to have adequate healthcare for all without distinction, remains a lost dream.
He said it was sad that public hospitals in the country have not been spared the shortages of water supply and power.