Power blackout at Kamuzu Central Hospital kills 4 children on Xmas Day

Power failure at Malawi’s major referral Kamuzu Central Hospital in the capital Lilongwe  on Christams Day resulted in the death of  four children as the ventilator oxygen machine was rendered ineffective.

Health workers using mobile phone light during blackout

Member of Parliament for Kasungu West (Malawi Congress Party – MCP), Alex Major said he  was at the hospital when power went off, saying many children were on oxygen machines.

He said within an hour  which he was in the ward, they witnessed the death of four children.

“The generator wasn’t used , we heard there was a fault but it took time before power returned,” Major said.

Other hospital workers speaking on condition of anonymity confimed that four  patients died after a generator failed to start when the power went off. The generator had apparently run out of diesel.

No one at the hospital could justify the reason behind not using the generator for such a power blackout.

Major was at the hospital to visit a relation was about to be moved to normal children’s ward and survived.

In most cases, the oxygen is provided  in Intersive Care Unit (ICU), and ICU machines need electricity to function.

“There were four children who died  during the period of the blackout,” said the witness, who asked not to be named as she is not authorised to speak to the media as a nurse.

She said the nurses, who had tried in vain to resuscitate the children, said power blackour  had led to their deaths.

“One of the nurses had cried uncontrollably afterwards,” said the source.

She said  the immediate cause of death for the children was that when the power switched off, as they could not breathe without a ventilator.

Recently, the National Organization of Nurses and Midwives says the  current power cut and shortages  are affecting  the country’s health service delivery system.

Executive Director, Dorothy Ngoma,  said the country’s health  is  in crisis reportedly after deaths are reported at t he country’s referral hospitals, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) and Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) because of blackouts.

Malawi is currently experiencing critical power outages as the utility provider Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) is failing to generate enough power to meet demand.

Ngoma criticised the government for failing to solve the problem.

“There’s people’s lives concerned here,” she said, adding “we are witnessing the worst incident of a crumbling health service delivery system in recent times.”

Speaking on Times Radio, Ngoma said: “ We have cases of premature babies dying in hospitals due to the abscence of power for the incubators and whenever authorities are told about these things, they would ask for names of those children who are dying. I say this is unacceptable.”

She said Malawi nurses and midwives, who are already demotivated by low pay and a bad working environment, are now working in the toughest environment in the country’s history.

“Some nurses and midwives are reported to be using flash lights of their mobile phones in the course of their duties. Imagine a nurse having to do this whilst helping a woman deliver her child,” she said.


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Kent Y.G. Mphepo
Kent Y.G. Mphepo
4 years ago

Malawi is the only country where a preventable loss of life like this can happen without public outrage. The value of human life has reached its lowest eb. Four children dying at once due to power outage and people can just look the other way while four mother’s mourn their children!? No explanation from the president or government official – not even the Minister of Health – Atupele? Not even the hospital?

4 years ago

Boma Escom are responsible for these innocent deaths

4 years ago

What can we do to avoid this from happening again?

4 years ago

Magetsi atitha a Malawi. Mulungu wanga tichitereni chifundo. Kodi ndikulakwa kukhala M,Malawi? Chita chifundo Ambuye tapemba.

4 years ago

Kodi abwana APM samanena kuti by December blackouts will be history? Pano ndiye atiuza chani, we’re going into January now. DPP mwapha anthu angati if we’re loosing 4 in an hour? Ena akakuuzani zochita you say ndi amisala……….. boma lochitisa manyazi ili, longoziwa kulankhula basi, nothing on the ground.

4 years ago

Shame! And very sad! May Their Souls Rest in Eternal Peace

4 years ago

2019 chidzachitika ndi chiyani? Wodzatenga bomawo bwanji sakunena chomwe adzachite kuti mavutowa adzathe? Ngati solution ilipo bwanji wosawauza anzawowa kuti kanthawi katsalaka tiyambe kugwiritsa ntchito magetsi mwa normal? Tidzawavotera bwanji enawo ngati sakuwonetsa ukadaulo wawo pakali pano? Tidziwa bwanji kuti ali ndi nzeru kuposa anzawowa popeza ku Parliament palibe tsiku lomwe anakambapo zanzeru zokhudza magetsi? Kodi akuwona ngati zinthu zoyendetsera boma zimangobwera ngati ma miracle a m’baibulo? Tawauzani abusawo kuti izi sizamu KANISA ayi.

4 years ago

We know that some of those kids that have just died would have been better leaders than Mutharika and his matchona friends. We are saddened for the loss of such a precious resource that is a hundredfold better than two Mutharikas and his matchona ensemble.

May their precoius souls come before the throne of God and lament about the poor leadership of this country at all levels so that He intervenes.

Concerned man
Concerned man
4 years ago

Boma linatha inu tiyeni tidikire 2019 or inu a pack, zisiyeni mungosauka pachabe abale anga, dikilani2019 mmalawi adzanena mau

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