BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
CONSTRUCTION of Ingutsheni Hospital drug rehabilitation centre has stalled as companies are snubbing the tender because of payment delays, the institution’s chief executive, Nemache Mawere has said.
The proposed centre would house recovering drug addicts and comes a time when statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that nearly 50% of the country’s youth abuse drugs.
Mawere told Southern Eye that companies do not want to work with government because of late payments.
“Honestly, I think that we are directing our energies on the wrong things. Besides, it seems like companies do not want to tender for the project that the government is involved in because they claim that funds are always delayed,” he said, adding that the project should have been located within communities and not situated at Ingutsheni Hospital, which he said was currently overcrowded with mental health patients.
“We do not really need a drug rehabilitation centre because the hospital is overwhelmed with many patients. As we speak, the Khumalo ward is crowded with about 182 patients,” he said.
“Government has not said anything to us since it sent us its proposed budget for resources needed for the drug rehabilitation centre.”
Last October, the hospital announced plans to establish a drug addict’s rehabilitation centre at the psychiatric institution after government raised alarm over rampant drug abuse in the country.
In June, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his government would take stern measures to stamp out growing drug abuse, particularly among teenagers.
Government has also announced plans to upgrade existing mental health institutions so they can cater for drug abuse patients as part of efforts to tackle substance abuse among youths.
Mawere said the drug rehabilitation centre would accommodate just over a dozen patients.
A cocktail of drugs such as the chemically-treated marijuana called skunk, white-sniffing-powder, tik, and BronCleer cough syrup are said to be in regular use.
According to the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe, BronCleer, which is manufactured in South Africa, is not licensed for sale in the country, even with a prescription, but is smuggled into the country.
Public health experts have identified peer pressure, breakdown of the family support system, limited knowledge about the effects of drug abuse and stress as major factors that drive substance and drug abuse among the youth.
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