Wednesday, March 9

LUTH battles power outage, water scarcity

Patients, doctors and health workers at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Idi-Araba, have cried out over the frequent electricity outage in the place. According to some patients who are on admission at the various units of the hospital, they can no longer bear the discomfort in the tertiary hospital due to the ongoing electricity crisis. Punch reports.
One of the patients in the male wards told our correspondent on Tuesday that his surgery initially slated for last week had been postponed indefinitely due to the erratic power supply on the premises.

According to him, the irregular power supply became worse at the hospital in the last three weeks.
The patient, who craved anonymity, complained that he would have to pay more for the additional days he would spend in the hospital awaiting another date for the surgery.

“Many of the tests that have to be done before the surgery have been postponed because they don’t have electricity to power the equipment. The situation is worse at night because we sleep in the dark using illumination from torches and phones,” the patient said.

Another patient in the female ward lamented that the light situation had also resulted in water scarcity at the hospital. She complained that many patients had to resort to buying water from some vendors at the hospital to meet their needs in the wards.

The patient, who is recuperating from an obstetric complication, complained that the effect of water scarcity was easily noticeable in the toilets and the facility. Corroborating the patients’ complaints, some doctors, who spoke to our correspondent, complained that they sometime had to consult in the dark due to the epileptic power supply in the last three weeks.

One of them, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had to rush out of the clinic on Monday afternoon after his lab coat was drenched in sweat. He said, “As I was sweating, my patient was also sweating. It was such an uncomfortable situation and I could not even trust my judgment at that point, so I had to take some fresh air outside.”

According to him, the electricity and water crises have resulted in the postponement of many procedures at the 800-bed hospital. While residential areas may survive on erratic power supply, a tertiary hospital such as LUTH may not. The reason is simple. More than 90 per cent of equipment and items used in clinical and medical diagnosis in hospitals are powered by electricity.

They include the ECHO machine, X-ray machines, and the radiotherapy machines.
Also, a blood bank must run on constant electricity. From the ophthalmology department to the obstetrics and gynaecology department, nothing works except it is on electricity.

Efforts to get the reaction of the LUTH Chief Medical Director, Prof. Chris Bode, failed, as calls to his telephone did not go through. Also, he had yet to reply to a text message sent to him as of 8pm on Tuesday.

When contacted on Tuesday, the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Kelechi Otuneme, however, claimed that the hospital was not facing any of the challenges alleged by the patients regarding epileptic power supply and water scarcity at the hospital.

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