WORKS started eight months ago to replace old elevators at Lusaka’s University Teaching Hospital have stalled for unknown reasons.
The situation is the same with the other construction works elsewhere at the facility meant to upgrade the services.
Some patients have been made to sleep on the floor while those admitted to the upper floor wards have to endure the stairs to access the radiology department which houses the X-ray and ultrasound facilities on the ground floor.
This situation has resulted in most ground floor admission wards to be overcrowded as patients were forced to make use of the “floor beds” in corridors of admission wards.
“I cannot understand what is going on with the UTH lifts because this project has been around since last year, and especially that management was all over television saying this would only take three months from December 2014 to be completed.
“But this is almost May (2015) and there is nothing happening except that they have removed the old equipment and covered the spaces with wooden boards to keep people from falling through,” Jason Musonda of Chawama compound said.
He said some patients have been seen walking up the stairs to the second floor to access the upper wards, which was strenuous and exhausting.
He told the Daily Nation that the hospital lifts have been out of service for too long without anything tangible being done, and it was causing unnecessary strain on the patients who were forced to sleep on the floor. He said it was unfortunate that sick people were made to endure walking up a flight of stairs when they should be comfortable and resting.
He called on the Government to address the situation at UTH with urgency as it was unacceptable that such an important institution should have no working lifts in relation to the nature of services provided.
And Justine Manda of Jack compound said the overcrowding in the ground floor wards created sanitary challenges especially during the night when the hospital closed off the water supply.
“These wards are overcrowded and it is most felt during the night with only three toilets working and no water throughout the night.
“It actually becomes a serious health threat to both the patients and those tending to the sick because of the state of the toilets,” Mr Manda said.
They have since appealed to the Government and the minister of Health Dr. Joseph Kasonde to quickly address the situation at UTH and ensure the hospital had adequate funding to continue the various construction works and help make comfortable the lives of those seeking medical assistance from the facility.
Efforts to get a comment from Ministry of Health failed as the minister’s phones were unreachable.