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Mpilo hit by shortage of anaesthetic machines

...Only four are working out of a required 10 machines

MPILO Central Hospital is in dire need of anaesthetic machines, which are a critical component during operations.

An anaesthetic machine is a medical device used to generate and mix a fresh gas flow of medical gases and inhalational anaesthetic agents for the purpose of inducing and maintaining anaesthesia.

Currently, the referral hospital is operating with only four machines and needs at least 10 machines to meet demand.

The anaesthetic machines cost between US$30 000 and US$50 000.

In an interview with CITE, Mpilo Clinical Director, Dr Solwayo Ngwenya confirmed the crisis at the health institution and indicated that the hospital was struggling to cope with the demand for the lifesaving machines.

“This is a big job and we need government assistance to buy them,” said Dr Ngwenya.

“Mpilo Hospital has been trying to solve this challenge for the past two years. The machines we have are working but are not enough. We need 10 machines and we have only four.

“If patients cannot breathe they die. Some machines are out of use and need repairs and spare parts but we need foreign currency to import those.”

Due to a shortage of anaesthetic machines, patients have to wait long for elective operations.

Elective operations are surgeries that are subject to choice, (election) is made by the patient or doctor.

“A new anaesthetic machine costs $$30 000 to US$50 000. The government is working hard to fix the problem. We got a donated machine from Dr Muza a well-wisher based in SA and another from Chitungizwa Hospital,” Dr Ngwenya highlighted.

Out of the four anaesthetic machines, two are used at the hospital’s main theatre ward and the other two at the maternity ward.

“The two at the theatre are not enough for elective surgery so there are people on the waiting list, waiting to come in and have their operations done. To serve them all is not possible until we have enough anaesthetic machines,” said Dr Ngwenya.

Despite these challenges, Mpilo hospital underwent a major facelift $1.5 million which saw the hospital refurbishing its wards, theatres and floors.

However, an additional $4.5 million is required by the institution to run its theatre at full capacity, as well as fixing water challenges at the hospital.

The hospital has also seen a major improvement in drug supply owing to government intervention.

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