Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya says no life was lost at the University Teaching Hospital as a result of the power outage on Sunday because it did not affect any critical ward.
In a ministerial statement to Parliament, Dr Chilufya explained that the outage was caused by scheduled routine maintenance works at UTH.
“The House may wish to note that there was a planned maintenance by Zesco at main substation one located at the main gate of the University Teaching Hospital. Let me start from the onset by stating that the maintenance works were planned and executed as such by Zesco and our technical staff at the University Teaching Hospitals. This was done with the view to minimize disruption to key strategic services at UTH. The strategic effort to minimize power loss to critical areas necessitated that power be rationed to less critical areas and that this exercise began at 08 hours on the morning of Sunday 18th March 2O18,” Dr Chilufya explained.
“Zesco exceeded the planned time span for the maintenance works and this resulted in a continuation of rationing of power in non critical areas to beyond the planned time of 18:00 hours until 21:00 hours when full power was restored to the entire hospital again. During this time of maintenance, UTH was being powered by the installed generator set capacity within UTH. The wards that were affected by the rationing of power were the wards that were deemed to be non critical at the particular time were E and G block which are medical and surgical wards respectively. I wish to inform the House that no life was lost due to the power outage and that no life has been lost attributed to the power outage in G and E wards at UTH.”
He said President Lungu did the right thing by demanding a report to show that he was concerned about the health of the people in hospital.
Asked if his ministry was informed about the prolonged maintenance works, Dr Chiliufya said, “as the works continued, there was communication at technical level. Our technicians and the technicians who were on the ground at UTH were communicating and that’s why they continued to ration power in less critical areas and that is the reason there was continuation of power supply in critical areas and life support areas.”
But Dr Chilufya dodged a question on why there was a black out despite having standby generators.
“The black out was due to rationing of power in less critical areas, in E and G block, just the lighting was affected but all the other parts of the hospitals, all the life saving equipment, all the critical areas had power through out. So it was the lighting that was not supported during this in order to insure the critical areas,” said Dr Chilufya, without addressing the issue of the capacity of the generators.