Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Power cuts affect hospital services

Source: Highlands Post, Post Courier, November 16, 2011
By JOHNNY POIYA
HOSPITALS in the Highlands provinces have scaled down operations while their standby generators operate 24 hours due to a massive and unprecedented power interruption in the region over the last three weeks.
The backup generator in one of the hospitals broke down in the middle of a life-saving operation and all operations have been referred to other hospitals.
Business houses, Government institutions and consumers which depend on electricity from Ramu (Yonki) have been faced with a nightmarish power blackout, which seem to go on and off every 10 minutes, especially in the Highlands after four of the five main turbines at the hydro station, which supplies electricity to Lae, Ramu, Madang and the whole Highlands provinces were damaged.
Electricity from the functioning turbine, aided by the backup power from the single turbine in Paunda along the border of Western Highlands and Southern Highlands Provinces, are providing an insufficient output which is being rationed to the consumers which results with the continuous disruptions.
At the Kundiawa General Hospital in Chimbu, an 18-year-old standby generator set which has been providing backup power blew off its head gasket yesterday after being in use 24/7 over the last three weeks.
Caretaker Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mathew Kaluwia said: “All Government institutions should be depending on each other to effectively deliver but the power disruption is the worst Kundiawa has ever experienced and our backup genset had to go 24 hours and blew itself out.”
He said patients would be referred to other hospitals in the region for operations as of yesterday. “We were in the middle of big operation today and the genset broke down. Whom are we to blame?” he said. Wabag General Hospital CEO Salan Eri said the power interruptions were drastically affecting operations at the hospital.
“Our 25-year-old standby generation has been in full use for over two weeks. With the limited funds we have, we can’t go on like this,” he said

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