Medical personnel in various public hospitals in Malawi are sounding an alarm, following pronouncements by ESCOM that they should find alternative energy sources, since power outages will continue.
The power supplier goes on to add that the situation will only improve when the country receives normal to above normal rainfall for a period of five consecutive years.
Malawians have in recent weeks been expressing surprise following the sudden return of power blackouts, which is contrary to what ESCOM officials promised.
A letter seen by Capital FM authored by ESCOM Chief Executive Officer Evelyn Mwapasa, advises the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI), and various hospitals of a round table meeting set for next week.
It is anticipated that the power supplier will, during the meeting, give a detailed update on the power supply situation in the country.
According to Mwapasa, the Blantyre meeting will enable both the private and health sectors plan accordingly.
Similar meetings will be held in the Central and Northern regions.
Power availability takes on an extra meaning in the healthcare field, as an interruption or loss of electric power at a hospital can result in tragedy as electricity power machines help keep people alive.
These include; life support machines, incubators for premature babies, ventilation machines helping people breathe, gas supplies for putting people to sleep during operations, and last but not least, blood pressure monitors. All these are needed to keep people alive and help save lives in hospital.
Heads of various public hospitals have time and again complained over the little funding they receive, which is inadequate to meet their needs when the frequent or unexpected power interruptions occur.
Ellings Nyirenda, who is the district Health Officer for Mzimba said they struggle to keep the hospital running due to power outages and with the recent announcement by the power supplier they are afraid of what’s to come.
It is sad that some Malawians have ended up dying while in the theatre, due to a loss in electricity supply.
What is coming out clearly from these public hospital managers is that their institutions are already struggling to survive, hence the need for ESCOM to do all it can to ensure steady availability of adequate power supply.
Otherwise, purchasing fuel for Gen sets or turning to solar energy at the last minute might prove suicidal.