At the Koforidua Regional Hospital in Ghana, Dr. Forster Amponsah is about to start an appendectomy in one of the hospital’s four operating theaters. A half-dozen other patients who have been prepped for surgery lie on gurneys in the surgical ward’s foyer. Amponsah is planning to do all the surgeries in quick succession — but then the entire wing of the hospital goes dark.
“The general electricity is out and our generator is broken down,” Amponsah says.
Ghana has been experiencing rolling power outages for months. As Amponsah waits for the light to come back on, orderlies wheel two more surgical patients into the foyer and park them in the queue that’s quickly turning into a backlog. The loss of electricity is just the latest stumbling block to getting surgery done.