Broken Anesthesia Machine Makes Surgery Impossible at St. Albert’s, Other Hospitals

Sign greeting all who arrive at St. Albert's Mission Hospital. It reads "Come to me, you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matt 11:28

I received the email below two days ago (Wednesday) from St. Albert’s Director Julia about the lack of working anesthesia machines at St Albert’s and other hospitals. We can only imagine the suffering of women around Zimbabwe who need caesareans or of adults or children with appendicitis, trauma, diabetic complications or other conditions needing surgery.

In a chat, I asked Julia whether the machine could be repaired. She said spare parts are unavailable in the country — hard currency is not available to import them — and parts for older machines are often not stocked as newer model machines are added. Given the poor condition of the nation, it’s hard for someone to call around for availability and prices of parts or to shop around on the internet. Hospital staff were shocked to learn that new machines run $40,000-$80,000 — plus shipping and handling, no doubt!

BHA is taking steps to learn how we might help with either the repair or replacement of this machine. Please let us know if you have ideas. And please send a donation to help St. Albert’s meet this and other needs during this dire period.
Thanks and keep well…Darrell

Here is Julia’s description of the situation
I hope to find you well. We are all fine here. The situation is not pleasing. Our anaesthetic machine is malfunctioning, and the anaesthetists are no-more comfortable to work with it. We have told pregnant women to go to other hospitals to seek services. We first phoned Mt Darwin who told us that they do not have a functional machine, Bindura Provincial Hospital had no functional machine, Mvurwi had no anaesthetist and doctor, and the machine were not functional. The other two options were Howard and Karanda Mission Hospitals. So there was movement by the women who went to the Mission Hospitals. We called an engineer who is the ZCBC employee at the National Health Desk who should do periodic checks of all the Catholic Hospitals machines. He says we should think about a new machine, a standard one.