Hospitals face water crisis
7 November 20016
THE country’s biggest referral hospitals, Harare Central and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals have not been spared by the persisting water shortages as the two hospitals are also grappling with the challenge.
The water shortages that have seen residents in and out of Harare resorting to unclean sources of water with many spending hours queuing at boreholes has forced the two referrals to divert funds meant for the day to day running of hospitals towards the procurement of water.
According to an official at Harare Central Hospital, more than US $25 000 has since been spent in procuring water alone while Parirenyatwa is also building a 2, 5 mega litre reservoir to curb the current water crisis.
Health and Child Care secretary Gerald Gwinji last week confirmed that the two hospitals have not been spared by water shortages adding that they were continuously engaging city fathers to ensure that the health facilities have adequate water supply.
Dr Gwinji said although the hospitals had back-up water tanks, it was key that the city fathers ensured that the hospitals did have running water all the times.
“Yes the hospitals have been facing acute water shortages and we have engaged the local authority about the water situation,” he said.
The most affected sections at the referral hospitals are the maternity, as relatives are requested to bring water for the admitted patients. The kitchens, toilets, laundry section and theatre have also been affected amid fears that this might cause an outbreak of diseases.
A visit by H-Metro to the two referral hospitals revealed a sorry state especially in the maternity ward with toilets at the institutions emitting very unpleasant odours while others had overflowing faecal matter.
“For the five days that my wife has been in hospital, I have been bringing her water as the hospital has no water most of the time. The hospital has openly told us that it is facing water challenges hence a request that we bring in water for patients.
“Sometimes the toilets are so dirty and I fear that if the situation is not controlled, we might see disease outbreaks in hospitals.
“The situation is just the same even back home, as I have to wake up and que at the borehole so that I have water to bring here,” said a Glen Norah man at Harare Central Hospital.
A woman who recently gave birth at Mbuya Nehanda Maternity at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals concurred that the situation was also dire as relatives had to bring water for her due to the crisis.
“When I gave birth at the hospital a week ago, there was no water and they had to bring in water for me from home. This is not safe and if this continues, the situation is likely to expose patients to disease outbreaks.”
A health lobby group director said the current water crisis was a time bomb for disease outbreak adding that it was sad that hospitals were operating without running water.
“I have always said that the current situation is a time bomb and it is worse when a health facility is operating without running water. This could expose patients to disease outbreaks and it is very unfortunate that this is happening in a health facilities.
“There are so many health risks involved such as cross infections. Water is critical in the operation of any hospital and this current situation is very risky. It is actually compromising the effective and efficient delivery of service,” said Community Working Group on Health director, Itai Rusike.