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Diseases outbreak fear as detergents, soap shortages plague Ngomahuru



PATIENTS at Ngomahuru Psychiatric Hospital in Masvingo have gone for weeks without washing soap and detergents, raising fears of diseases outbreak at the institution which is seriously affected by lack of government funding resulting in a shortage of food, medication and blankets.


The situation is forcing mental patients to run away from the institution.

The appalling state of Ngomahuru — one of the four psychiatric health institutions in the country — illustrates how government is failing to sustain health institutions in the country.
Senior medical staff at the hospital told The NewsHawks that the situation at the hospital was dire. The hospital has gone for weeks without washing powder or bath soap for patients, most of whom soil themselves due to their mental state.

The sources said blankets and clothes are washed with water only raising fears of disease outbreaks.

“Our hope now lies with a Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission team which arrived here two weeks ago to look into some of the issues. They arrived and witnessed what we are telling you. I cannot tell you the exact period but we are now into weeks with these challenges and this is affecting most patients as some are running away due to the situation,” said a senior official.

“They are washing without soap, knowing the nature of our patients this is totally a disaster which should be addressed quickly. Unlike other centres ours was first designed for leprosy patients and later changed, so the buildings are not suitable for mental patients.  They always inflict injuries to other patients especially walls. This needs special treatment on daily basis of which the medicine is usually unavailable.”

A senior health administrator in Masvingo province said Ngomahuru is yet to receive its budget allocation from government for 2023 making it difficult for the hospital to procure what is needed for its day to day running.

Masvingo Provincial Medical Doctor Amadeus Shamhu told The NewsHawks the problems at Ngomahuru were linked to funding.  

“I will have to check if the situation is still the same. We recently received funding towards the institution so l am not aware of the current situation let me come back to you after talking to staffers at the hospital,” said Shamhu.

Ngomahuru Medical Superintendent Parirenyatwa Maramba was not picking call on his mobile phone. He also failed to respond to questions sent to his Whatsapp platform.

Early this year Minister of State for Masvingo Ezra Chadzamira revealed that the number of patients at Ngomahuru was rising because of drug-related illness.

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