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Chilipa Health Center Goes A Year Without Electricity

✓We are prone medical mistakes–Nurse
✓Fixing ESCOM transformer requires K7 million–Namalomba

By Eric Nantchengwa, MANGOCHI

Provision of quality health care services continues facing a serious compromise at Chilipa Health Center in Mangochi district as the facility has gone close to a year without electricity after an ESCOM transformer developed a fault; The Radar can reveal.

We have further established that treatment of pregnant women and storage of essential drugs and vaccines have become a terrible headache to health authorities there.

One of the nurses who opted for anonymity said the pregnant women are dangerously delivering in dim light.

She added they are also forced to use phone light to treat certain patients; making them prone to commiting life-threatening medical mistakes.

“If this is not treated with urgency, we will be losing alot of lives. How do you expect us to store vaccines in a high temperature room? We are operating in an unfriendly environment,” she lamented.

Heavily pregnant Falida John prays that she delivers during day light. She says she can’t imagine being treated in the dark.

The health authorities are faulting Mangochi South West lawmaker, Shadric Namalomba whom they claim came and took the transformer; promising to fix it.

Namalomba told The Radar that fixing the transformer would require about K7 million.

“I already made a request to the District Council to release the funds from the Constituency Development Fund-CDF to fix the transformer. Again, Escom needs to fix its connectivity so the transformer doesn’t get overloaded,” said Namalomba.

He further revealed presenting the issue in Parliament through Energy Minister Ibrahim Matola. He says he is yet to be briefed on how the ministry will intervene on the matter.

Meanwhile, renowned health rights activist, George Jobe feels the money needed to maintain the transformer do not equate to the inconvenience caused hence the need for speedy restoration of power at the facility.

“There are costs that will be associated if the problem is not timely fixed. This needs to be fixed as soon as possible,” says Jobe.

Some suspect the seven maize mills around Chilipa Trading Centre are causing the transformer overload; leading to its damage.

A month ago, people from Mwanza West Constituency also complained that a faulty ESCOM transformer had lasted almost a year without being fixed; a development they said had left Thambani Health Center and patients in the dark that long.

Their transformer became useless on December 20 2022 and had not been replaced with ESCOM attributing the delays to low stock levels of 33KV transformers.

“But the good news is that there is an improvement in availability of the transformers on the world market…we already placed orders and we are waiting delivery. The transformer will be replaced as soon as we receive from our suppliers,” said ESCOM Public Relations Manager, Kitty Chingota.

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