BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
INGUTSHENI Mental Hospital in Bulawayo has recorded 53 COVID-19 infections among its health staff at a time when the country is experiencing a surge in new infections caused by the Omicron variant.
Hospital chief executive officer Nemache Mawere told Southern Eye that the pandemic has affected the hospital, adding that due to the crisis, more health experts were needed to attend to mental patients.
“We have 53 cases of COVID-19 among members of our staff who tested positive to the virus. However, none of the patients tested positive from December 7 to date. The situation has affected the institution because doctors, nurses and other health experts have been affected,” Mawere said.
On Wednesday, Bulawayo recorded 324 new COVID-19 infections, according to statistics from the Health and Child Care ministry.
The Ingutsheni Mental Hospital infections came at a time when there are also reports that over 170 doctors and nurses at Mpilo Central Hospital and the United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH) were in isolation after testing positive to the COVID-19 virus. The development is likely to cripple health institutions in Bulawayo.
Last week, Mpilo Hospital recorded 77 cases of COVID-19, while UBH had 99 cases among health workers. The bulk of those that tested positive were nurses.
Mawere said to mitigate the crisis, the hospital was redeploying health experts from other departments to reduce pressure at
the mental hospital and to cover up for those health personnel that tested positive.
“What we have done is that we have been taking nurses and doctors from other departments in the hospital so that they can help us since we are now shortstaffed. We have engaged the government on the issue and we hope that it is going to assist us to avert the crisis.”
Meanwhile, Mawere said the refurbishment of the ward expected to accommodate drug abusers had been put on hold since the institution was waiting for funding from government.
“Our other challenge is that we are overcrowded. We have added drug abusers to the Khumalo ward. The situation is
now dire, and we are still waiting for the funds to rehabilitate the ward,” Mawere said.
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