The largest hospital in Malawi, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) has suspended all theatre operations and others clinical works that require running water because of water crisis that affected the medical facility due to a burst pipe.
The hospital’s medical staff who spoke to Nyasa Times said they could not conduct any operation because some materials they use were still unwashed due to lack of water.
“We have some cloths and tools that we use during operations which need to be washed after an operation is conducted. Following the water crisis, we were advised not to send any patients for operations unless the situation normalises,” said one staff member.
The official said they were forced to only conduct Cesarean Section deliveries because of their urgency.
Patients and guardians have been exposed to poor sanitation as there was bad smell in various departments at the hospital while the floor could not be mopped.
Blantyre Water Board (BWB) provided the hospital with water through its bowsers but it was not enough to also cater for guardians who needed water to prepare food.
On Wednesday afternoon he running water was back but some staff had already been told to go home after operations were suspended.
QECH’s Principal Administrator, Gibson Mgwira, said the water problem came about after an underground pipe burst.
“It was a big problem and we had to replace the pipe. The BWB team worked on the problem the whole of Tuesday until Wednesday around 11:30 am,” he said.
Mgwira added that the hospital’s operations were affected such that materials which were used for emergency operations at the theatre were sent to Chiradzulu hospital for cleaning.
“Water is life. Where there is no water there is likely to be poor sanitation and QECH was no exception,” he said.
BWB Public Relations Officer, Priscilla Mateyu, said the pipe connecting to the main one burst, hence the problem which she said QECH reported only on Tuesday.