Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rains soak patients at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital

The corridors reeked with water, dirty brown water.
Two people- an old woman and a man in his 50s- lost balance and fell head first. Falling into the dirty, brown water snaking down the red-floors of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), Malawi’s referral hospital for the Southern region.
At exactly 12:45pm, the heavens opened to vomit the waters of life: rain. The rains, though expected any time in October in the Southern region, came unexpectedly, taking people by surprise.
QECH was taken by surprise, too.
Maintenance works are still going on at the hospital, so much so that demolished walls are yet to be filled with new bricks and mortar; defaced corridors are yet to be dressed back to red; and buildings still open to the skies are yet to wear the hut of iron sheets and ceilings.
So, when the rain came, it found premises and people unprepared.
Water filled the corridors that have not been touched the by the hand that demolishes to build. The main source of this bountiful of water were the open walls.
Water entered from one end, and traveled at quick speed to reach the other end; in the process, washing the feet of the bare-footed, and soaked the shoes of the foot-clothed.
It was a sorry sight- seing people fall, seing people weight. Under a covered roof!
Mary Chadza, one of the soaked people in the safety of QECH, said it was sad that hospital officials failed to plan ahead of the rains.
“In the village, people have been busy clearing the fields in preparation for the rain. Others took advantage of it to embark on construction projects, QECH inclusive. It is all preparation.
“However, it is sad that QECH failed to prepare against the rain. And now we are suffering,” said Chadza.
A mentally-disturbed man then went about disturbing people who gathered at the patients’ receiving bay; gathered to run away from the open skies (rains) and the closed corridors of QECH.
“Call me Ndaziona now; from today, onwards,” he barked.
A watchman said Ndaziona’s real; name was Gataso; but that he changed names frequently when the disease was on him.
That was the only light side. A man who went to QECH so debilitated and out of mind is now getting to the light. He is now on the road to recovery, and normalcy.
“All of you should learn to walk with umbrellas,” Ndaziona barked again.
It was a wise statement from him; a man getting back to his faculties. The basics.
Other people advised Ndaziona to tell QECH officials to learn to plan against the rains. That way, patients will no longer get wet or fall.
After all, medical interventions are there to pick us up from the fall- the departure from normal health.
Like rains, our health falls, and goes back (evaporation for the waters).
As it is, the rains are back. At least in Blantyre.

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