With water tapes now running dry in the Zimbawe’s second-largest city, Bulawayo, patients at Mpilo Central hospital are calling for a whole government approach as the water crisis reached a breaking point, with their relatives now being forced to bring water for them.
Under that worrisome background, patients’ lives are hanging in balance and their relatives are now always on their toes, running with containers of water to the referral hospital, just to keep them alive.
Prolonged power outages, and depleted dam levels have ushered in the worst water woes in the city’s history.
Talking to this publication, just a few hours after being discharged from Mpilo Central Hospital, Thulani Dube (not real name) said the situation at the hospital is no longer pleasing as all visiting hours have been turned into water delivery hours.
“I am happy that I am now going home because the situation at the hospital is now bad. We can’t have a big hospital like Mpilo Central Hospital function without water, just water, our government should do something urgently and save lives.
“On top of being stressed about where to get money for the medicines, which the hospital is also failing to provide us with, they have to come with water as well,” he said.
A relative to a patient admitted at the same hospital expressed similar concerns and urged local authorities to address the situation urgently and ensure lives are saved.
“They really need to take the situation seriously. What if a patient is unlucky to have a visitor to bring them water? How is that going to end? Our government should address the situation urgently,” she said.
A staff member from the hospital said water has become a precious commodity and it’s affecting their work as well.
The chief medical officer at Mpilo Central Hospital, Dr Narcisius Dzvanga, said it’s unfortunate that the hospital does not have an independent water supply and is affected whenever surrounding suburbs face water challenges.
“There are jojo tanks that are strategically erected around the hospital but they are filled either through the bowsers or running water and they are usually empty because we barely get any.
“We have boreholes, but they are not connected to the hospital’s water system because Bulawayo City Council (BCC) didn’t allow us to feed water into their water pipes,” he said.
Bulawayo City Council’s acting director of engineering services Skhumbuzo Ncube said the situation is being further worsened by the low rainfall.
“We have nine months ahead of us until the end of the year.
“Therefore, the council has to budget and step up efforts in finding other mitigation measures in view of the electricity crisis,” he said.