Heavy rainfall has been affecting the Eastern part of Zambia since early February, causing severe floods which has resulted in casualties and damage to a lot of properties.
There have been media reports of flooded houses, damaged roads and damaged bridges across the Province with more than 500 people being reported evacuated from their damaged homes.
A recent report by the Zambia Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) indicated that “Heavy rains and flash floods have caused damage to homes and livelihoods in Eastern Province since mid-January. Lusangazi and Mambwe Districts were heavily affected with several homes being damaged or destroyed”.
Katete District has not been spared from the ravaging effects of the continuous rains. Hundreds of hectares of planted fields have been submerged in water threatening household food security and the hospital is anticipating a rise in malnutrition rates this year due to poor harvests.
The District in the past few months had experienced frequent and prolonged power outages as a result of damage to power installations. This has in turn affected the provision of health services at the hospital due to interruption in internet services and water supply.
The interruption of power supply at the hospital due to damaged power installations delayed the treatment of patients because investigations such as imaging and laboratory could not done on time.
The impact of the power failure was strongly felt in the operating room as operations had to be delayed, neonatal units and intensive care where the interruption of power even for a few minutes posed a formidable challenge.
Delayed referrals from the health centres due to damaged roads and overflooding rivers contributed to the poor outcomes of patients especially in maternal and newborn.
Not to over-emphasize the destruction of property by the fallen trees on the infrastructure at the hospital as a result of heavy rains. We are currently reconstructing a walkway from X-Ray to Maternity at a great cost which was damaged by the fallen trees. These funds could have been used to provide direct health care services to patients.
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