The power cuts reportedly affected incubators, ventilator support machines, blood pressure and oxygen monitoring machines and ECG machines that monitor heart patterns.
However, in a suspected cover- up the authorities are denying the reports saying the hospital has standby generators. Investigations by The Standard revealed that the hospital had perennial power faults because the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority cables are now old and prone to breakages.
Mbuya Nehanda Maternity hospital, paediatric intensive care unit, the laboratory and staff residences are the most affected. Nurses at Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Hospital confirmed the deaths but they were not willing to speak on record.
A senior medical officer who agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity confirmed the deaths.
“Zesa is not cutting power,” he said.
“The power cables are now very old and are always developing faults. Yes, there are generators but they are for some departments and they are not enough for the whole hospital. Visit this hospital at night and you will see that mostly the southern half of the hospital does not have electricity.”
“This part encompasses the labs, paediatric intensive care unit and doctors’ hostels and Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Hospital. Recently we had to go for 48 hours without electricity.”
Asked why hospital management was denying the deaths or the power outages, he said it was mostly because those who run the hospital don’t stay at the institution.
Jane Dadzie, the hospital’s spokesperson said they were only aware of four deaths, which were not attributed to power cuts. He said the children were born too prematurely.
“Ask those who are giving you this story what their motive is,” she said.
“The minister and those who are authorised can come and check our records, these allegations are unfounded.”
Health and Child Welfare minister Henry Madzorera (Pictured on Page 1) said he had not yet been briefed about the deaths and could not comment.
Zesa does not loadshed critical areas: Gwasira
ZESA spokesperson Fullard Gwasira acknowledged the frequent power outages at Parirenyatwa Hospital and blamed them on old power cables.
He said as a matter of policy they do not load shed critical areas like hospitals, water purification plants and security institutions.
“Our infrastructure is also old and is now prone to failure,” Gwasira said.
“However, we react quickly because we value human nature, sanctity of human life and we regret such a scenario.
“As Zesa we have challenges and people are aware of such challenges and should have back-up power.”