Relatives of patients and sanitation workers at the paediatric ward of the Lagos State University Teaching (LASUTH), Ikeja, have lamented lack of access to water.
On Monday when a PREMIUM TIMES’s reporter visited the facility, many mothers of children on admission at the facility, lamented the unhygienic conditions at the facility.
This newspaper learnt that since February 22, the Mainland Independent Power Project (IPP) that supplies electricity to the hospital has not supplied power.
The hospital management said the excuse given by the power company is lack of gas to power its turbines.
It said it had resorted to using power generators to supply power to the hospital but that due to low capacity, it decided to ration power.
However, the situation is worse at the paediatric ward as this newspaper was told by an official who does not want to be quoted for fear of sanction, that the connection at the ward has been bad for quite some time.
“So while electricity through generators can be supplied to other wards, power can’t get to this ward due to bad connection. They have been working on it for a few days but no solution yet,” the source said.
Checks at other units in the hospital show that patients are coping with rationed power supply as they schedule their needs to meet the “roster.”
Since June 2021, Esther Adebambo has been at the paediatric ward of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) with her 13-year-old boy, who was diagnosed with meningitis.
But the recent power outage at the hospital, which has lasted for more than 72 hours, has affected water supply within the premises.
She said the development has added to the daily stress of caring for her son and herself within the facility.
“I have been going from the third floor to fetch water at the morgue building since the blackout. No fan and no ventilation,” she told a PREMIUM TIMES’ reporter on Monday morning.
“Other parents who are in the same ward with me also prepare themselves ahead to fetch water- some in the evening while some very early in the morning to bathe themselves.”
New mothers not spared
Fareedah Onasanya gave birth to a girl exactly on February 21, 2022, but her baby has been on admission at the hospital for a condition called spina bifida- a birth defect that occurs when the bones in a baby’s spine do not fully form during early pregnancy.
Mrs Onasanya, who was standing outside the general paediatric ward with her aged mother and younger sister on Monday morning, told PREMIUM TIMES that they started using sachet water since the water stopped running.
She said: “We were using sachet water before someone showed us where to fetch water at the mortuary. “It has not been easy going up and down to get water but we have no choice as long as we remain here and until they fix the light.”
Mrs Onasanya’s mother described the experience as agonising, saying; “It’s saddening, a nurse had to tell me to stop when they saw me fetching water, because my daughter just gave birth and the stress has just been too much for her.”
Similarly, Mariam Afolabi gave birth to her son at Massey hospital, Lagos Island, in October, 2021, but was referred to LASUTH in December.
The five-month-old boy was diagnosed with Macrocephaly, a condition that refers to an overly large head – it is often a symptom of complications or conditions in the brain.
Mrs Afolabi’s mother, who was there with her, said she almost fell from the stairs in the morning with two buckets of water.
“We have bought everything they want us to get and are still waiting to get the specific date for surgery. We have to remain here and keep fetching water till they fix everything,” she said.
Cleaners too lament
The cleaners were heard lamenting over the lack of water supply within the premises while working in the morning.
Two of the cleaners who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES on condition of anonymity to avoid being sanctioned, said the power outage has complicated their challenges.
“I got here earlier than usual because I know there is no light, but the situation got worse this morning. I have gone from this building to the mortuary to fetch water more than three times already, and it is not enough yet,” a cleaner said, adding that; “I hope they restore the light soon to ease our work.”
Another cleaner, who showed our reporter where they fetch water, which is more than a kilometre to the ward, said the distance isn’t the challenge but the number of stairs they climb with buckets of water on their heads.
Stuffy waiting room
A woman who identified herself as Mrs Ajayi said she brought her son to see a doctor on Tuesday for the first time, but on getting back on Monday for another appointment, the waiting room had become very stuffy.
“It is so hot in here that I have to go out every minutes for fresh air, too bad,” she said
Similarly, as of 11 a.m., Helen Okafor, who didn’t disclose her reason for being at the hospital, said it was her first time there.
“I got here very early but it has since been an unhealthy environment. People are here without using their nose masks appropriately and there is heat,” she said.
Meanwhile, the hospital’s Chief Medical Director (CMD), Adetokunbo Fabamwo, confirmed the development in a statement on Saturday.
He noted that the power supply from the Mainland Independent Power Project (IPP), source of the hospital’s electricity, has been off since February 22, 2022.
“In the recent past, the supply from this company has been epileptic,” he said, adding that; “The reason usually given is lack of gas supply to power its turbines.”
The head of public relations unit of the hospital, Oluwaseyi Oniyide, who corroborated the CMD, added that “such situations are unavoidable because the hospital relies on IPP for power everyday.”
“Just like the CMD has said in the statement, the power should be restored before the end of today and water will definitely start running again at the pediatric ward,” she said.
Mr Fabamwo had noted in the statement that only the hospital’s service areas have continued to be powered by generators since the outage, and that due to the limited capacity of the generators, the power had to be rationed.
“As we speak, there is still no supply from IPP and our information is that there will be none until Monday, February 28, 2022,” he said.
Alternative power supply
Mr Fabamwo added that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwoolu, has approved the purchase of three brand new generators.
He said: “In recognition of the acute need of reliable, alternative power supply the governor recently approved the purchase of three brand new 500 KVA generators which will be installed next week
“We will continue to try and cover as many parts of the hospital as possible with our generators while this outage lasts
“We ask for a little patience from our clients. We are working assiduously to restore normalcy.”
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