By Leonard Ncube
A power cut caused by the vandalism of Zesa power lines has forced St Luke’s Hospital in Lupane to suspend surgical operations and close the mortuary.
Kenmaur area where St Luke’s Hospital is located has been without electricity for the past three weeks following suspected theft of Zesa cables and damage to the power line by rains early this month.
The area receives its electricity from Turk Mine in Bubi but there have been calls to connect it to the Hwange power line.
Lupane District Medical Officer Dr George Mutizira said the maternity department is also affected.
“We’re using temporary measures which is not sustainable for a health facility. It’s difficult to work without electricity because the mortuary and theatre need continuous power.
“We run the generator for two hours only because it’s not sustainable given the price of diesel,” he said.
“Our main challenge is in the theatre and mortuary because they need continuous power.
“The water pump is also electricity-powered and the generator cannot supply enough power as it only runs for a short time.
“We have been telling relatives of people whose bodies are in the mortuary to collect them while we have been directing those coming from police to Mpilo Central Hospital.”
Dr Mutizira said the hospital has an average of more than 100 expecting mothers who need clean running water at any given time.
He said the hospital has resorted to water rationing which poses a health hazard.
“We have resorted to water rationing which is not ideal for a health institution.
“The problem is that we can’t operate using a manual borehole because of the size of the hospital hence the little water we have is pumped just for two hours and we have to ration it,” added Dr Mutizira.
He said Zesa electricians had promised to restore power this week.
The situation has also left the whole of Lupane district without radio transmission as the Kenmaur site has been switched off.
Meanwhile, schools and clinics in Makwa area outside Hwange have been without water and electricity for the past two months following theft of cables near the Zambezi River.
Zesa spokesperson Mr Fullard Gwasira did not respond to questions sent to him yesterday. The Chronicle