The persistent power failures in Malawi continue to cost lives in Malawi. According to press reports a 20-year old lady who was in the Intensive Care Unit-ICU-and later three other people died in the early hours of Tuesday a when the electricity distributor broke down and a backup generator ran out of fuel at the Kamuzu Central Hospital.
However, commenting on the development, Hospital Administrator Director Nordeem Alide said he could only confirm the death of one person in connection with the Tuesday power outage and that the other three died because there was nothing else the hospital could do about their condition.
The hospital management and ESCOM officials on Tuesday convened an emergency meeting to find a lasting solution. That meeting resolved to buy a new power distributor after realizing that the existing one is very old and that there are no spare parts in the country to maintain it, hospital sources said.
This avoidable death, believed to be one of the many are going unreported in most public hospitals, will not be the last as the Malawi Government dillydallies on resolving the triple problems of forex unavailability, fuel scarcity and unreliable electricity.
Meetings between Malawi Government Officials and the World Bank and IMF Teams to resolve the deadlock on the devaluation of Kwacha that would see the lifting of the IMF Extended Credit Facility that could lead to the reopening of aid taps have so far not borne any fruit as the Malawi Government is refusing to budge.
The country’s hope of revitalising electricity generation also lie in limbo after the US suspended the US$350 million MCC Compact due to governance issues.
This compact is now under double-jeopardy because the US is also waiting to see how Malawi will handle an impending visit by indicted Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.
Electricity and fuel problems are currently “the order of the day in Malawi” with the health sector being among the hardest hit in the areas of transport and operations.