Zimbabwe's Ministry of Health has opened an investigation following a recent report by an independent newspaper that 16 babies died at Parirenyatwa Hospital, Harare, due to electric power cuts that disrupted incubators and other life-support systems.
The Standard weekly paper quoted sources as saying parents of the infants should consider legal action against the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority for their losses. Zimbabweans have faced chronic power cuts for years due to problems at ZESA.
Hospital sources said on Wednesday that Parirenyatwa Hospital's internal power system has failed repeatedly so that infants in incubators or who were on other life-support equipment could have died because of the outages.
But one nurse there said she doubted all the deaths were caused by electric power outages - but added that there is need for an investigation of the situation.
Health Minister Henry Madzorera said the reports are of concern and that an investigation is now under way.
Energy minister Elton Mangoma told VOA reporter Sandra Nyaira that Parirenyatwa like all Zimbabwean hospitals is given high priority in ZESA power distribution, but that the institution has had problems with its internal power supply systems.