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Friday, September 30, 2022

Covid Centre Hell

Columns Covid Centre Hell

By Laura Miti

I write this post for those in charge of the COVID response.
Having spent 10 days running around to save a friend, I discovered a disturbing situation that I am convinced administrators have no idea of.

It is that we are losing people to COVID in two ways:

    1.  The illness itself – medical staff try their best to save a patient, but fail.
    2.  A total breakdown of care when patients are hospitalised. Patients die from neglect, not COVID.

It is the latter I want to bring to light.

When a COVID patient is admitted, they are essentially taken into secrecy. No one can see what is happening because COVID guidelines prevent the bedsider, that rock that holds up the Zambian health care system.No visitors are allowed either.

I will speak of the Bauleni COVID Centre and Levy Mwanawasa High Cost – because those are the two I experienced.
The two centres are critically understaffed. There are times when there is one exhausted nurse for 20 – 30 critical patients.
They can’t cope.

So, other than oxygen, a patient can get next to zero attention.
In Bauleni, power goes. As in they get loadshedded. Shockingly, relatives are not told that a simple extension cable that connects oxygen to the genset, can save their patient’s life. By the time we discovered the vitality of the extension cables and delivered them, our patient’s oxygen saturation had plummeted multiple times.His saturation fell from the 99 he achieved when he was first connected to the oxygen to 82, then a second time to 46, then 56.He never went back over 80.
But that’s not what’s giving me hell.

It is that as his energy waned after the multiple times off oxygen, he begun to send texts begging me to get a nurse to feed him, give him water, pain medication. To help him wear something warm.In desperation, we moved him to Levy Mwanwasa High Cost, hoping for better basic care. Oh, the relief, when we left Bauleni.

Things got no better.

“I’m thirsty, please get someone to give me water.”
This message comes as you are stuck at home or outside. You can’t go in.
You shout at the door for a nurse to come. No one does. You call the number of a nurse you managed to get, they don’t pick up.
They are overwhelmed.
In the end, panicked out of my mind, I got myself a PPE and went in.
But I was too late.
He was thirsty, hungry, weak, in pain.
He needed to be at least on a drip.
But nothing.
I gave him water, fed him.
At some point, I noticed his oxygen bag was not inflating.

A nurse sitting by the bedside on the next bed (specially hired I think) tried to help while I searched for the nurse on duty.
A nurse on duty with 30 maybe 40 odd other critically ill patients, on the night.

The nurse finally came, but it took a while to discover that whoever had put more water in the oxygen gadget, had left it loose.
By the time the oxygen was reconnected, it was just a matter of time.
We lost him…not to COVID persay.

Please allow bedsiders. Dress them up in PPEs.
Hire nursing assistants to feed the patients. To give honest information to familes. To take medicine and food from relatives waiting outside, quickly.

It can take you an hour to get food to your patient.Then they are not fed immediately or at all.
Hire assistants so the nursing staff can concentrate on medication.
So our loved ones do not have to die unnecessarily painful deaths.
Oh God, it’s better not to know how your person died in a COVID centre.


  1. ““I’m thirsty, please get someone to give me water.””

    This is what evil looks like, people. They are storyboarding and abusing your empathy to get you to get their Great Reset injection. This is all fake news. It is manipulative. They want to sterilize and collapse the population so they can grab all the resources for themselves. Bill Gates is now the biggest farm owner in the USA – thanks to covid19. The elites have made trillions. Google: wef great reset potcast youtube. That’s who you’re dealing with.

  2. Give solutions not always crying. Wih all That education which this country gave you, the only thing you can do is write articles describing your experience? Tell us what you would do. You pick on one experience out of a million and then decide that is how things are every day everywhere. We cannot even verify this story. Even me I can write such a story.

  3. Thanks for sharing. Very sorry to hear this state of affairs. very sorry for your loss. The country has collapsed, your ideas are very sound and if there was responsible leadership they would act upon it. Other countries tend to recruit medical students and trainee nurses as they have a better idea of safety.

  4. I agree with you hundred percent am wondering what kennedy malama, do he is interested in counting deaths occassioned by his designs in the Ministry of health
    These are designed deaths we are witnessing not COVID PER SAY.
    kennedy malama and his team are responsible for this mass murder of our people how can fail to check on the vulnalability of the system he has put in place, people with sugar, and high blood pleasure and other resipiratory deseases require water and food at short intervals.
    BUT you design a system where people just perish on their own in the name of avoiding transmission.
    we thank God people have discovered this dirty system,
    you have few nurses by design just to facilitates little care sad indeed we have doctors only interested in counting corpses

  5. Below was her solution :
    “Please allow bedsiders. Dress them up in PPEs.
    Hire nursing assistants to feed the patients. To give honest information to familes. To take medicine and food from relatives waiting outside, quickly.” and unfortunately, the situation is all the same, being Maina Soko or Bauleni

  6. Some information are true but not everything is true. Some of us are COVID-19 patients and as per article some information are far from being true. Yes the nurses are overwhelmed with pressure but it is not at times were you find no nurse to assist patients even to go to the ablution,

  7. Kaizar Zulu – Can you really write such an article boss? We heard that your role at Plot 1 involved running around and not exactly sitting behind a desk.

  8. Countrymen and women, the story has been the same all over the world. Not to say that this is how it should be, but medical personnel have been overwhelmed, all over the world. I am sure most of you will recall that mid last year 90% of patients on ventilators were dying, in America and other countries. The main cause for that was nursing under staffing and therefore less monitoring on how patients where responding when on ventilators. By the time this was noticed and corrected thousands of people had died from COVID-19.
    The main reason being given for lockdown measures all over the world is to avoid over stretching health services. Therefore it is imperative for all of us to observe the lockdown measures and/or any other measures the public health authorities recommend.

  9. Although I am very critical of PF , this covid can overwhelm any nation when a critical wave hits as of now in zambia.

    Zambia is a country under financial duress and would not cope with a serious pandemic

  10. They wasted millions of US dollars buying fake medicines through a corrupt drug store. Now we hv a crisis and are wishing we should hv known better, as Scottish crooner Jim Diamond sung in the 1980s. They even started the meeting to evaluate the corrupt tenders with a prayer in which they asked God to bless them in their decision making. And no doubt he did. They’re developing expensive real estate while the owners of the money are waiting for the good life whn Jesus comes back.

  11. KZ the UK based troll and imposter is – like his boss Edgar China Lungu – a clueless heartless soul, only interested in stealing money. I trust you will get Covid-19 and be subjected to the treatment in the article!

  12. This makes a sad reading.This isn’t abput some obscure statistics this is something affecting our loved ones. I am not sure what wisdom was used to dissolve parliament during a pandemic.We could use the leadership of a Minister of Health right about now. Just because other countries experienced the same doesn’t mean it’s okey for us to sit back and do nothing. Doctors are dying, our loved ones are dying and our president is silent. Our health system depends on the aid given by relatives. Perhaps as Laura suggested give relatives PPE’s to take care of their loved ones.Ofcourse its at their own risk but its not right to let people die alone in hospital. Nurses are overworked and can not be expected to be able to cope in these unprecedented time. Learn from other countries and adapt…

  13. Ba Kaizer Laura has offered possible solutions. Why are you always sensitive to give cricism that you do not read postings in full. Ibwela Aug 12 you will pay for all your sins.

  14. I can sympathise losing a loved. However the author is extremely naïve and overwhelmed with emotions. She must know the answers to her grave concerns.

  15. a). The truth of the matter is Covid patients are isolated to stop the spread of the disease. There is nothing mysterious about it. This is the norm even advanced nations.

    b). We have no infrastructure to cope with this pandemic which has humbled all nations globally.

    c). Add to that; we don’t have enough medical professionals needed to run our Hospitals and the pandemic has over stretched our doctors and the rest of medical staff. This is happening in nations such as UK, USA, JAPAN. We are dealing with a Pandemic

  16. Sometimes its best to be realistic than finding blames games. Why does she think the reasons behind global lockdowns. Its to stop people dying in millions and making sure that hospitals are not overwhelmed. The USA has lost 600,000 plus due to Covid 19. Some of these people are not even buried and still in mortuary freezers

  17. Rupiah Banda cried when he left office and said we had stopped listening, therefore Ignore the chap on this blogg who is trying to rubbish what Laura has written

  18. mr kaiza zulu. political aside this is serous what is guy is saying is true we need bed siders dressed with correct PPE , in order to serve lives

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