University Teaching Hospital
University Teaching Hospital

THE University Teaching Hospital (UTH) is spending over K100,000 a week to provide oxygen for patients on life support after the institution’s oxygen plant broke down more than two weeks ago.

UTH public relations manager Mwenya Mulenga said the US$900,000 oxygen plant commissioned two years ago had been out of order, forcing the largest health institution in Zambia to procure the life-saving gas from commercial gas suppliers at high cost.

He said the plant has not been adequately serviced since its installation, causing damage to some essential parts which have resulted in the breakdown, which has also affected oxygen supply to other hospitals across the country.

“Yes, the oxygen plant has been out of order for over two weeks and we are now using oxygen cylinders which we acquire from gas companies for about K100,000-plus for a week’s supply.

“The service was overdue and some parts got damaged, but previously, the suppliers from South Africa were periodically called in to carry out maintenance works.

That has not happened since sometime last year and that has resulted in the breakdown,” he said.

He explained that UTH management should have entered into concession agreement for periodic servicing of the oxygen plant at the time of installation but instead there was just periodic maintenance works carried out until sometime last year.

Mr Mulenga said the equipment had not been serviced for almost one year, exceeding the recommended periodic service and repair which has resulted in the breakdown.

The over 1,800-bed capacity health facility was the largest hospital in Zambia and provided the much needed oxygen gas to other public hospitals countrywide at a subsidized price who were now forced to buy it at commercial rate.

He however said the Ministry of Health had released funds towards the repair of the plant but could not state when the works could commence.

And UTH has confirmed reports that it was laying off over 300 casual workers in line with the new labour law against casualization.

Mr Mulenga said although the hospital was in dire need of extra hands, the law of casualization had forced them to take drastic action against workers engaged on a temporal basis mostly non-clinical staff.He said there were a lot of gaps in the staffing levels at the institution, and laying off casuals would adversely affect the operation of the health facility in maintenance, cleaning and clinical and technical departments.

“Come March 31, 2016, the hospital is laying off about 300 casual workers from different departments in line with the new law against casualization.

“It will definitely strain the hospitals operations because there are a lot of gaps to fill in the staff levels which was why we (UTH) engaged casuals to try and fill up the shortfalls,” he said.

Mr Mulenga however disclosed that management was in consultations with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Labour on what options they could have to retain some casual workers in critical areas of the facility.

“We are still in consultation with ministries of Health and of Labour on possible guidelines which would help us retain some workers without affecting most sensitive departments which are very critical.

“For us to get casuals means the areas they are covering are critical and laying them off will mean creating deficits in staffing,” he said.

He said already, the hospital was short-staffed with both clinical and non-clinical staff levels operating at a minimum, but was hopeful the Government would work out something to avoid a crisis.

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19 COMMENTS

    • And goes for another medical checkup at Taxpayers expense at Morningside in South Africa where there is plenty of oxygen!

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    • Lol…. Mr Mulenga, UTH public relations manager is talking as if he is not part of the management team that failed to maintain the equipment.

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  1. Bafi colour ba PF and your ka Lungu you are busy dishing out money to watch a football match in Ndola while people are dying like chicken at UTH because of oxygen.Mu kapya kuli lesa.HH twachula pafula come at rescue as from these criminals come 11th Augast,2016.

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    • 2 years a vital machine crashes someone somewhere made some easy money (quote high buy low and its ha ha ha ha all the way to the bank), while some poor soul loses their life then some one shouts unprecedented development. Did you know that even as the titanic sank the band played on? Gonga machine bought by gonga leadership

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    • UTH in Oxygen Crisis following plant breakdown………..

      Zambia in TOTAL ECONOMIC CRISIS following PF Government breakdown…..!!!!

      Ifintu ni Lungu! Lets hire another plane for US$300,000 and go on holiday to New York again!

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  2. Did Lungu even think of this before hiking his salary? NO!
    Because he goes for medical checkups in SA & Israel.

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    • One thing about Old man Sata is that he was hands on news like this is bad press so to squash he would gone to UTH himself to see..something that this corrupt coward can not do!!

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  3. this is too much ba PF, everything you do is either crisis management or damage control:
    1. fuel – crisis
    2.electricity – crisis
    3.HIV test kits – shortages/crisis
    4.Condoms supply- crisis no cheap condoms soon the positives that we made in the fight against HIV will be reversed.
    5. Mealie meal- price crisis
    6. cholera crisis
    7. CBU- crisis
    8. UNZA – crisis
    help us twapapata!

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  4. Sido,
    Why do you have to politicize everything? God I hope HH your Tonga herald umoneka kwati chisushi ichishishibe uchinyele never wins. Otherwise, tulakupenga sobene Zambia with these uncompromising Tongas hellbent on gaining power that they have to politicize everything. The issue here is UTH’s and as the spokesperson said money has already been released for them to work on this.

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    • Yes with PF no one is accoutable for not maintaing a $900,000 plant, as usual. Blame the “grobo” economy or UPND.

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    • Yes crankshaft, with you lot everything is gobo, tribo, regiono or hambo. If thise answers don’t fit the situation final answer is blaming HH just wait some donkey will blame opposition. We’ve learnt your tactics so ba crankshaft mu sele fye tuvoteko

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    • We have intelligence information that a leader of a named party passed through UTH and whilst visiting relatives sabotaged the oxygen machine cover story soon on deadnbc, times of pf, daily pf and pf nation

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  5. So UTH would rather have an ultramodern car park than an operational oxygen machine? Mmh.. Interesting PF logic. Can one of you online PF bloggers explain this twisted logic because it’s comes at a high cost of poor Zambian lives? Makes no sense to me.

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  6. I can only imagine how people’s lives are being eliminated like flies….yet this bum is increasing hos salary and commissioning pointless $320m police housing.

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  7. This is a moral issue. How don’t you service a $900k piece of equipment for over a year? The people who installed the machine should have created capacity among locals to service the same. This could have been a subsidiary or private company & not necessarily UTH employees. Someone was probably getting bribes to keep the status quo. As thickness Kambwili would say heads should roll.

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  8. Awe mwandi all these isures of mealle meal, fuel, UTH gas plant wthin 6 weeks CHIMPATEMPATE typ of PF govrt.
    11/08 ni MPAKALINTETE, MPAKALITULIKE.

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