When people are taken ill, they visit health facilities for medical treatment, but Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre, the country’s main referral centre, is steadily turning into a health menace.
For about two weeks now, patients in the ward’s 3B and their guardians have been living with sewage spills, making it difficult for them and other visitors to have a breath of fresh air.
However, despite this condition the affected people, particularly guardians, have no choice as they continue suffering in silence with the sewage leakages.
The burst sewer pipes and blocked manholes lie few metres away from Ward 3B windows and the guardian’s shelter. The discharges are everywhere and flowing unreservedly, making the place inhabitable.
A disgusting odour coming from three blocked manholes welcomed The Nation during a visit to the place yesterday amid guardians’ grudging endurance of the stench as they took their lunch.
Some guardians said in an interview they have lived with the sewage breach for close to two weeks now after their complaints to management to have the problem fixed proved futile.
The guardians also claimed that in certain cases children have been seen crawling and playing on the sewage spills believing it is running water.
Lamented another guardian: “If this problem is not resolved soon, we may end up getting infected with other diseases. I am specifically worried with these children who know nothing. The main problem is that the area is not even fumigated.”
QECH principal hospital administrator Chikumbutso Tambala said in an interview yesterday management was aware of the problem and efforts were underway to fix the system.
He said: “We noted the problem last week Friday when the issue was reported to us, but we had problems to fix it immediately because funding for September delayed and we had to source funds from elsewhere and that process took time.”
Tambala said roots of trees around Ward 3A blocked the sewer pipes and management is planning to reroute all pipes between wards 3A and 3B to fix new pipes which will clear the blockage.