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Overcrowding crisis hits Ingutsheni Hospital

Overcrowding crisis hits Ingutsheni Hospital

BULAWAYO’s Ingutsheni mental hospital has become overcrowded, triggering a serious shortage of blankets.

A Bulawayo resident, who recently visited the health institution to see a relative, said the situation was dire. 

“There is Khumalo ward which is an admission ward for male patients. They are overpopulated in that ward. It was designed for only 98 patients, but when I visited the hospital with some ladies, we heard that there are at least 270 inmates,” the resident said.

Ingutsheni Hospital chief executive officer Nemache Mawere confirmed the overcrowding at the institution’s male ward.

Mawere said they had no idea how the number shot beyond the hospital’s carrying capacity.

“We used to have around 150 inmates in the ward and we do not even know how the figure shot up to that,” Mawere said.

“I think we need to engage the communities where the inmates are coming from to find out what’s happening. We cannot dump our problems at the hospital.”

He said the hospital did not only cater for patients from Bulawayo, but also from across the country.

The institution is the largest referral centre for mental patients in Zimbabwe.

Mawere also confirmed the blanket shortage at the institution, but said this was because inmates were in the habit of tearing them.

Reports late last year indicated the mental hospital was experiencing an increase in patients affected by alcohol, drug and substance abuse.

In April last year, government launched a Zimbabwe National Drug Master Plan which identified alcohol and drug abuse as one of the top causes of mental health problems in the country’s 10 provinces.

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