Medical and Dental Private Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe president Johannes Marisa has said ongoing power disruptions had hit most hospitals hard.
He said health institutions are among the most affected by the electricity crisis because of lack of funding for alternative power sources such as solar or generators.
Zimbabwe has endured acute power cuts for over a decade, while last week, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) warned of more severe load-shedding because of poor generation.
“Power cuts have been wreaking havoc on hospitals that have no power backs-ups and not only mortuaries are affected. Theatres have to run, drug storage has been greatly affected and surgical operations have to be done and that needs power,” Marisa said.
“At one point, we had one central hospital in Bulawayo that was affected by load-shedding and its power backup was not reliable. We have another central hospital in Mashonaland West, where its theatre was greatly affected and the generator was not working. Therefore, we advocate for strong power back-ups. Hospitals also need to deal with issues of under-staffing.”
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said the health crisis did not emanate from the health sector, but could be attributed to the wider economic collapse.
“We recognise that the current health crisis does not emanate from the health sector as it comes from a wider economic collapse and the increasing extent to which people are not accessing basic public services like electricity,” he said.
“Hospitals should be allocated designated power cuts in order to avoid disruptions to essential healthcare services. The government should seriously consider investing in solar energy at public health institutions in order to avoid disrupting healthcare services as solar energy is more sustainable, dependable, efficient, and has long-time cost-effectiveness.”
In public hospitals, the rolling power cuts are said to have severely affected operations amid reports that mortuaries are struggling to contain decomposing bodies.