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9 inmates escape from Ingutsheni Hospital

Local News
Three of the inmates have since been accounted for after breaking out of the institution on April 13 this year.

NINE mental health patients have escaped from Ingutsheni Hospital  after removing burglar bars at the healthcare institution.

Three of the inmates have since been accounted for after breaking out of the institution on April 13 this year.

Ingutsheni Hospital acting chief executive Wellington Ranga confirmed the incident in an interview yesterday.

“The nine patients escaped through the window by removing burglar bars. Some had started returning to the hospital in the care of relatives or other caregivers the following day,” he said.

Ranga said stabilised patients may be granted leave of absence to go home in the care of relatives for two weeks or as a way of gradually integrating them back into the community.

“Should the relatives not be forthcoming because of the anti-social behaviour exhibited by the patient or they delay to come for them, the patient may decide to abscond.

“Some patients may have a previous history of breaking windows, doors and other types of infrastructure, so when they do this in hospital the others simply follow them,” he said.

Ranga said the anti-social behaviour exhibited by patients was linked to alcohol and substance abuse, adding that most patients always want to go back home where they have access to drugs and alcohol.

“Unfortunately, the numbers have gone up of those abusing substances. Patients who escape from rehabilitation wards where they are being prepared for reintegration into the society do not usually destroy or damage infrastructure as they easily sneak away with some of them coming back on their own,” he said.

“Infrastructure is constantly repaired and there is ongoing health education for the relatives and community to encourage and empower them to provide social support for the patients.”

Meanwhile, Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Abednicho Ncube has said he has not received a report on the breakout.

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