Friday 21 February 2020


NGOMAHURU Psychiatric Hospital in Masvingo is running with only 17 psychiatry nurses against the expected establishment of 60 affecting operations and posing challenges that have seen some inmates attacking nurses.

A visit to the institution by the Chronicle on Thursday revealed that more inmates, both men and women, are being attended to by less than five nurses per shift.

The situation is worsened by the fact that of the nurses on duty at each given time, only a few are trained in psychiatry, posing a challenge on the management of inmates.

The institution’s matron, Mr Thomas Hwami Mahwehwe, said the situation was unbearable.
He appealed to Government to unfreeze some posts so that the hospital can have more staff.

“We are operating with only 17 nurses and yet we should be 60 of us here,” said Mr Mahwehwe. “We are seriously understaffed that we are overwhelmed by the situation here. This is evident when we receive hyperactive inmates who need continuous monitoring.” 

He said the institution sometimes receives many inmates yet the resources are inadequate.

“We continue to get inmates from Masvingo General Hospital despite lack of capacity to deal with a big number of psychiatric patients. As if that is not enough, Parirenyatwa and Harare Hospitals keep referring some patients here and that is too much of a load.

“Some of the inmates are violent. Last week, we had to send one nurse on sick leave after he was attacked on his right eye by an inmate who is violent,” Mr Mahwehwe said.

Reached for comment, Masvingo Provincial Medical Director (PMD) Dr Amadeaus Shamu said the situation was unfortunate.

“It is what the Government has recommended despite the challenges faced by those working there. We have basic training conducted for registered general nurses willing to partake in psychiatry.

“The training is done at Ingutsheni Hospital in Bulawayo and the graduates are taken to Ngomahuru to complement qualified psychiatric nurses,” he said. Chronicle


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