Western Province Zesco regional manager Sylvester Chumanya says no hospital mortuary in the region has been rendered ineffective due to load shedding.
And Western Province permanent secretary Danny Bukali says there is a misunderstanding between Kaoma District Commissioner Kennedy Mubanga and the Kaoma Hospital management.
On Friday, Mubanga issued a public notice that the district hospital mortuary had been rendered ineffective as refrigeration systems were failing to freeze bodies and attributed the misfortune to load shedding.
“It is hereby notified for the attention of members of the general public in Kaoma district in particular that following the unstable power supply, the Kaoma district hospital mortuary refrigeration system has been rendered ineffective. This means bodies deposited in the mortuary are unable to freeze. Members of the general public are therefore strongly advised to bury…their beloved ones within twenty-four hours after death has occurred. Government therefore wishes to solicit the support of members of the general public in Kaoma District and surrounding areas. In this regard, I further wish to inform members of the general public that while the effects of climate change are real, your government is making frantic efforts to mitigate the effects of power shortages arising from Zesco power load management,” Mubanga stated.
In reaction, Chumanya, in a letter dated November 2 addressed to the Permanent secretary stated that the public notice by Mubanga was inaccurate as the utility had already effected President Edgar Lungu’s directive not to load shed hospitals.
“Following a public notice given by the District Commissioner of Kaoma that Kaoma District Hospital Mortuary has been rendered ineffective as a result of load shedding, we wish to indicate that the information is not correct. Zesco Limited is complying in Western Province with the presidential directive to exempt all major health institutions across the country. Zesco has exempted from load shedding all hospitals in Western Province, including Kaoma District Hospital, and has been working closely with hospital administrators throughout the province to ensure that all function effectively and that no life is lost as a result of power challenges,” Chumanya stated.
Meanwhile, Bukali told News Diggers in an interview that Mubanga only issued the public notice about the hospital following a misunderstanding between him and the hospital director.
“It’s a misunderstanding between the District Hospital director and the DC. The misunderstanding was caused by an unclaimed dead body that was in the hospital [mortuary]. So what the district hospital director advised the DC was to start arrangements so that the council can bury the body… So, I don’t know how the DC couldn’t understand that but I want you to disregard that and tell people that the hospital is running smoothly. There is no load shedding and there is no mortuary that has been closed,”said Bukali.