South Africa: Heroes Rally to Save Patients After Cable Thieves Plunge Eastern Cape Hospital Into Darkness for Five Days

Doctors, nurses and support staff forgo sleep to save pregnant women and premature babies after cable thieves cut power for nearly a week.

For five days, staff at Dora Nginza Hospital in Nelson Mandela Bay worked day and night to keep their patients – mostly pregnant women, premature babies and children – alive after cable theft took out the power supply to their hospital.

“I was thinking of retiring soon, but the team that worked these five days make me feel like I can work until I am 80,” said the head of gynaecology and obstetrics, Professor Mfundo Mabenge.

When the power went off, staff waited for the generators to kick in, as usual, thinking that the electricity would come back on in an hour or two. But the power stayed off until five days later.

The biggest problem for Mabenge’s department was that its wards are two flights of stairs down from the operating theatres and 75 C-sections were scheduled for the next five days.

Also, there were 61 patients in the maternity ward about to give birth and there were no lights – leaving everything in darkness.

“We didn’t get a lot of sleep, I can tell you,” Mabenge said. “We do everything we can and God and the angels will help us. And they remained on call at the…


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