ZIMBABWE CRISIS: Nurses fear for their lives as mental hospital runs out of vital drugs


INGUTSHENI Central Hospital in Bulawayo has run out of essential drugs, increasing the risk of staff and nurses being attacked by violent patients.

In an interview, Ingutsheni Central Hospital Clinical Director, Dr Wellington Ranga, said the hospital was facing a critical shortage of essential drugs, with some supplies having completely run out while some medication is set to last between a week and three months.

Dr Ranga made the revelation during a handover ceremony of donations from the Rotary Club of Matopos.

The hospital received groceries, toiletries and fruit trees which were planted by Rotary members at the hospital farm orchard on Thursday.

Dr Ranga said the hospital was also facing food shortages and appealed to well-wishers to assist with whatever they had to ensure that patients did not starve.

“We have about 600 patients and it is not easy to come up with balanced diets for three meals a day, 365 days a year. We need a minimum of 5 tonnes of mealie-meal per month.

“We thank all our partners and members of the public who have been supporting us all this time and today we received a donation from the rotary. This will go a long way for us and we hope that the situation will change soon,” he said.

Dr Ranga said the hospital heavily relied on the health levy which had improved the supply of drugs and food for the hospital.

“The main problem at the moment is that local pharmaceutical companies are not producing the drugs we need as there is no foreign currency to import raw materials. We are left in a dilemma due to foreign currency shortages,” he said.

Dr Ranga said the hospital was importing drugs from India.

Last year, the hospital ran out of drugs which are important in suppressing violent behaviour in psychiatric patients. Staff at the hospital said two nurses were beaten up by violent patients.

Ingutsheni Hospital does not charge patients for its services and the institution depends entirely on the government’s budgetary allocation for its recurrent expenditure and capital projects.

— Chronicle

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