13 December 2017
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Wednesday, 06 December 2017 06:59

Ministry aware of challenges of power outages in district hospitals

Written by  Tione Andsen

 

Muluzi: His Ministry saiys power outages will not affect vaccines storage - File photo

Lilongwe, December 5, Mana: Ministry of Health Monday admitted to be aware of the challenges district hospitals are facing in the wake of continued power outages throughout the country but dismissed claims that vaccines might be spoiled due poor storage facilities.

Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry, Dan Namarika made the admission during the official launch of the 2017 Child Health Days Campaign in Lilongwe.

He said one of the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) over the weekend reported that district hospitals were facing a lot of challenges in keeping their vaccines due to frequent outages.

“The NGO stated that this might affect the safe keeping of the vaccines because they are not being supplied with adequate power,” Namarika explained.

He said most of the district hospitals have generators which are normally used during power outages but this is happening with cost implications on their part.

The PS explained some hospitals are said to have exhausted their Other Recurrent Transactions (ORT) in order to service their stand by generators.

Namarika pointed out that the managements of district hospitals are no longer in the hands of the Ministry since devolution was implemented.

“The district hospitals are under district council management and they need to liaise with the council in order to rectify the situation,” he suggested.

Namarika pointed out that, “We had a meeting with the chairperson of the National Local Government Finance and we raised the issue to him so that they should consider addressing the issue of ORT in some of the affected districts during the midterm budget review.”

He said availability of power in all health facilities  is essential and no one could let it not respond to its importance.
“We have talked to Escom to consider supplying our health facilities with adequate power for our smooth operations,” the PS added.

He disclosed that the Ministry only looks after central hospitals while councils manage all district health facilities.

Minister of Health, Atupele Muluzi said with funding from global fund the Ministry plans to install solar power to 85 health facilities throughout the country.

He said the solar power kits will range from five kilowatts to 110 kilowatts in order to address the current power outages.

Muluzi believes that the installation of the solar power kits in the said health facilities would be completed by December 20, 2017.

“With support from Canadian partners all health facilities for both government and CHAM will be solar powered in the districts of Kasungu and Chitipa,” the Minister pointed out.

Head of Community Health Integrated Science Unit (CHISU) in Lilongwe, Dr Stone Kabuluzi explained that their cold rooms are operational and that the various vaccines they are keeping are safe despite frequent power outages.

He said at CHISU they have a standby generator which is normally used when there is power outages and they are in the process to replace the old one with a new 50KW generator.

“We have a very good mechanism of looking after our vaccines in our storage banks and people should not be misled by unconfirmed information being given to them,” Kabuluzi hinted.

 

 

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