Minister of Health and Population, Atupele Muluzi has quashed media reports linking the death of four babies at Kamuzu Central Hospital on Christmas to blackouts, saying the reports are untrue.

On Tuesday 27 December, the Daily Times published an article that claimed 4 babies died as a result of a loss of power at the Kamuzu Central Hospital.
According to the paper, the blackouts rendered ventilator oxygen machine at the hospital useless hence the deaths.

In a statement released to the press, Muluzi confirmed the death of two babies but the deaths were not as a result of power cuts.

“Through the 24 hours of Christmas Day (25 December) 2 babies tragically died at Kamuzu Central Hospital.

“The first one died because of a severe case of Malaria and the second one was suffering from a severe medical condition and tragically arrived late at the admission ward to be treated,” reads the statement in part.

Added the statement : “Neither death was caused because of loss of any power.

“Through the 24 hours of Christmas Day, Kamuzu Central Hospital did suffer a loss of power. This was for approximately 10 minutes and unfortunately the backup generator failed to cover this period.

“During this period, however, no deaths were recorded at the hospital.”

“Any loss of life is a tragedy, particularly those of young children, however there was very little that the medical team could have done to save either child despite the professionalism that they showed caring for both patients.” Said Muluzi.

He added: “I hope that the families of both children will accept the sincere condolences of all in the Malawi medical service and I hope we can respect their privacy at this tragic time”.

The Secretary of Health Dr. Dan Namarika also said “100Kw of solar power from the recent Global Fund grant will be installed at KCH early in January. While this is not a total solution it will go some way to supporting the hospital with its future power needs.”

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