Sunday 23 June 2024


The only referral hospital for one of the remotest districts in the country, Neshuro District Hospital in Mwenezi is in such a sorry state that it has become more of a death trap for patients who have no option but to seek health services there, with all the major facilities required for a health centre its size not working.

Sources within the institution said the hospital has a defunct mortuary section which was shut down several months ago and the situation has forced authorities to resort to temporarily keep dead bodies in side wards (hospital rooms previously reserved for staff patients) before relatives of the dead are expeditiously advised to collect them.

Mwenezi District Medical Officer (DMO) Dr Itai Matibiri could neither confirm nor deny as he referred all questions to the Provincial Medical Director (PMD) Dr Amadeus Shamhu.

“I am not allowed to comment on the issues you are asking but you can contact Dr Shamhu, I think he can furnish you with the correct information,” said Dr Matibiri.

Efforts to get a comment from Dr Shamhu failed to yield results as he promised to look into the matter and come back to the reporter but failed to do so. Repeated efforts to get his comment were futile as he was not picking up his cell.

“Let me find out from the people on the ground and I will get back to you after an hour or so,” said Shamhu.

However, Ward 1 councillor Mavengano Chauke whose ward covers the Neshuro area where the hospital is located, confirmed the facility’s predicament saying it had inconvenienced locals.

“It is true that the hospital’s mortuary has not been working for many months now. This situation has haunted locals and is forcing many to engage in speedy burials which are not as per the bereaved families’ plans since they will be forced to expeditiously clear their dead relatives’ bodies from the hospital. There is need to come up with a sustainable solution over this predicament,” said Chauke.

A source concurred with Chauke saying they were forced to bury their relative a day after his death even before the whole family had gathered as planned because they had nowhere to keep the body since they could not afford the services of a funeral parlor.

“We wanted to wait for our deceased relative’s sons who were in South Africa to attend the burial but the situation forced us to bury him before their arrival because we had nowhere to keep the body since the Neshuro Mortuary is not working. We appeal to authorities to intervene and save the situation because people here rely on services from the hospital. The situation could be worse for us this year because of drought and most of us cannot afford private hospitals where better services are offered,” said the source.

The situation is said to be worse in the kitchen where hospital stoves went down long back, cooking is being done using firewood with sugar beans being the only relish for patients.

One Larcadia Shoko who hails from Mwenezi West’s Ward 10 whose Uncle, Tamuka Shoko passed away while admitted at Neshuro Hospital in March this year described her experience at the medical facility as the worst.

She said they were asked to buy almost all the medication prescribed to them, which defied the logic of one being admitted in a hospital.

“We came face-to-face with the worst and pathetic situation during my uncle’s hospitalization. He had continuous chest pains but what worried us most at first is that, of all his prescribed medication we got nothing at the hospital’s pharmacy and we had to buy from a local private surgery,” said Shoko.

Shoko further described the hospital as a deathtrap on its own, owing to the substandard food served at the hospital, saying the food was far from improving the conditions of patients.

“During my uncle’s admission, we had to fork out extra money to get food for him as they were only served sadza and beans throughout his admission.

“Sugar beans was the only relish that was offered daily for the four weeks our uncle spent at the institution. There is no way you can expect a patient’s health to improve when he or she is being fed the same type of relish every day. I really felt pity for those patients who could not afford to buy supplementary food and relied on hospital food,” she said.

Reliable sources at the hospital confirmed the dire situation at the health facility saying owing to the longevity of the plights in the mortuary, laundry and kitchen section of the hospital, health staff at the institution were now accustomed to normalizing the abnormalities.

“The kitchen is using fire to cook patients’ food and we do laundry manually; handling dirty linen from patients is another terrible situation one has to endure. Even when one is wearing gloves, you cannot avoid contact with the dirty water whilst hand washing,” said the source.

Sources further said the Nyaradzo Life Assurance Company once tabled modalities on working towards restoring the hospital mortuary’s operations but the deal went down over unclear circumstances.

Neshuro District Hospital is the only government-owned hospital that service three constituencies, namely Mwenezi East, Mwenezi West and Mwenezi North. However, owing to substandard services and lack of critical medication at the facility most people are turning to private doctors for health services. TellZimNews


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