November 15, 2021

Shot In The Arm For Harare Mental Health Institution

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Mirirai Nsingo

Parirenyatwa Mental Health Institute (Annex) has received a donation of a year’s supply of mental health medicine from a local bank.

Authorities say the donation has come at a time when the institution has been facing an acute shortage of psychotic drugs which had resulted in some mental health patients turning violent.

Speaking during a recent tour of Annex, psychiatrist, Dr Fungi Mazhandu told the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro, that the situation has been so dire that some patients have broken windows.

“We have been facing challenges such as shortage of medicines and sometimes in the absence of critical medicines, some patients tend to be violent.

“We are so grateful for the donation especially of the drugs as this will go a long way in helping us in managing patients for the coming year,” Dr Mazhandu said.

She added that mental health cases are on the rise with substance abuse and depression being the main contributing factors.

Dr Mazhandu urged families to watch out for any signs of mental health challenges, adding that there is need for support from families for mental health patients.

Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro concurred that the burden of mental health challenges is growing in the country, adding that Covid-19 restrictions have also worsened the situation.

Dr Mangwiro said mental health care will be adequately funded to arrest the challenge.

“I saw broken windows during the tour of Anex hospital and was informed they were broken by patients due to issues of medication.

“We appreciate the need to ensure mental health is equally funded and also call on the corporate sector and partners to support us in arresting this challenge.

“As a Government we really appreciate the donation of medicines by the bank which will last for a year.”

Dr Mangwiro added that challenges like mental health management require a multi-sectorial approach, noting that Government alone may not arrest the challenge.

At least 10 percent of the population suffer from a mental health challenge in the country and the burden has been growing over the years.

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