PICS: Doctor in Moz treats patient in the dark: 'I only took a break to go home and bath'

2019-03-22 17:04

Providing adequate medical services to scores of people affected by Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique is proving to be one of the most challenging aspects of the recovery from the floods that have killed at least 200 people.

"We are only doing emergency surgeries," Dr Nelson Durte Nucopo told News24.

Nucopo is the general director of Hospital Central Da Beira (The Central Hospital of Beira).

The 43-year-old has been the head of the hospital since 2016.

He said the hospital was running on low resources and his staff were forced to turn away patients who didn't have life-threatening injuries.  

"There has been a lot of damage to the infrastructure. The roof is damaged - the wind blew away the ceilings." 

Nucopo and his staff have treated 539 people for trauma-related injuries - 86 were admitted to hospital - and there was one fatality.

The hospital is located in the heart of the town and has been providing healthcare services to the community for decades. 

Outside, there are several people sitting on benches, seemingly waiting for their turn. In the reception, buckets are strategically placed to catch water droplets coming from the cracked roof. But because there aren't enough of them to go around, patients are forced to walk through puddles of water inside the building. 

Although the hospital has generators, Nucopo said they needed to be strategic about how they use their power. As you navigate further into the hospital, most of the hallways are dark, except those that are exposed to the sunlight.   Hospital Central Da Beira

Fortunately, the hospital has water - thanks to the mobile water tanks - but this is not a feasible long-term strategy.  

Nucopo said his main focus was providing world-class medical services to their patients, despite the circumstances.

"I have been here since 03:00 today. I only took a break to go home and bath."

Authorities say at least 200 people have died in Mozambique and 98 in Zimbabwe, but the death toll is likely to rise as rescuers are still finding bodies.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has declared a national emergency and has warned that the death toll could rise to 1 000.

Central Hospital of Beira

A damaged university a few kilometers away from the hospital.

Cyclone Idai: Africa now has an 'inland ocean' where villages once stood

A week after Cyclone Idai hit coastal Mozambique and swept across the country to Zimbabwe, its death, destruction and flooding continues to grow in southern Africa, making it one of the most destructive natural disasters in the region's recent history.

Read more on:    mozambique  |  southern africa  |  cyclone idai
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