Power cuts paralyze services in Lamu hospitals


Lamu, KENYA: The constant power outages in Lamu have caused untold suffering to patients seeking medical attention in hospitals in the county.

The major King Fahad hospital and the Mpeketoni sub-county hospitals were greatly affected by the now frequent power cuts affecting the county.

Dispensaries have also not been spared.

Lives of patients in the ICU and babies in incubators at the two facilities continue to be in grave danger due to the situation.

The situation has paralyzed major services in the hospitals leaving patients to their own fate.

At the Lamu King Fahad Hospital, for instance, more than 100 patients seeking X-Ray services at the facility this week were turned away as there was no electricity to power the machines.

At least 50 patients who were seeking similar services at the Mpeketoni sub-county hospital this week were also turned away.

Lamu town has been without electricity supply for the last four days.

On Tuesday, five patients who had been admitted at the Lamu King Fahad’s ICU section were saved narrowly after a generator that was being used to power the facility after the power outage suddenly went off.

However, the hospital administrator Bill Jumlai says they had to make a dash for some diesel before the generators resumed working minutes later.

The two major hospitals are accusing the KPLC of failing to notify them of impending power cuts and as such the situation always catches them off guard and unprepared.

Jumlai said the KPLC should shoulder any blame arising from the power cuts seeing as the problem is on their side and not the hospitals.

He said the affected hospitals have had to halt provision of some services among them X-rays due to the fact that generators cannot supply the enormous amount of power required for them to run.

“Since May 1 when the frequent power cuts began, we have had to stop some services like x-rays and others. Every day we turn away at least 50 people seeking those services and it breaks our hearts. That applies to Lamu and Mpeketoni hospitals. I believe this mess should lie squarely with KPLC. They never notified us of anything. As a hospital, they never notified us of this recent blackout that almost cost lives,” said Jumlai.

Power returned to Lamu late Tuesday night but even then, the power outages haven’t stopped.

The hospital administrator says that hasn’t really helped the situation and that the halted services continue to be grounded due to the fact that current load of power supply cant sustain the affected machines.

“For some reason, the power seems weaker and cant run the x-ray machine and others. So we are still on generators which are proving quite expensive,” said Jumlai.

The power cuts have also affected water supply as Lamu town remains without water for two weeks in a row.

The chairperson of the Lamu Water Supply Company-LAWASCO Mohamed Athman says there is no electricity to pump water for supply.

He said they had even been forced to reduce the amount of water supplied in Lamu from 5000 cubic metres to 1700.