Drug Abuse Admissions Overwhelm Annex Psychiatric Hospital

Parirenyatwa Annex Hospital, the Psychiatric division of Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals (PGH), is currently admitting more drug and substance abusers compared to other mental health patients, officials have said.

By Michael Gwarisa

The development has disrupted care and service provision for other mental health conditions at the facility. Even though the facility at some point reduced the admissions to 10 adults at any given time at the back of ongoing renovations, data shows that more than half of bed occupants are drug and substance abusers.

Speaking to HealthTimes, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals Spokesperson, Mr Linos Dire said males constitute the biggest number of patients who present at the facility with drug and substance induced mental health conditions.

Normal admissions are taking place. We just reduced admissions for a few days when some refurbishments were being done.  Yes 60% of male patients who come through, present with drug abuse related illnesses,” said Mr Dire.

Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a drug and substance abuse scourge owing to the influx of drug products into the country through the porous borders while some are being manufactured locally. According to Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) data, at least 30 percent Zimbabwean youths are hooked on Crystal Meth or Mutoriro.

While advanced mental disorders such as Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder were the most common conditions most Pshsychiatric facilities in Zimbabwe, data shows that anxiety, depression, alcohol and substance abuse disorders admissions were rising at an alarming rate.

Dr Fungi Mazhandu, A Consultant Psychiatrist and Head of Department at Anne Parirenyatwa Unit said the surging admissions in drug and substance cases was overwhelming them and disrupting other mental health services.

“The current statics show that the majority of patients, mostly males that we have been treating have been those with alcohol and substance use disorders since the year 2020. Here am talking of those severe ones which we had to admit. Obviously, this means if we have a certain maximum bed count, if more of them are for alcohol and drugs it’s not allowing us to serve other conditions,” said Dr Mazhandu.

Zimbabwe has long stay facilities which are Ngomahuru Psychiatric Hospital in Masvingo and Ingutsheni Hospital in Bulawayo. Zimbabwe also has rehabilitation services being offered in prison and correctional services psychiatric facilities. These are for long term chronic patients and they are not doing much in terms of rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe joined the world in commemorating World Mental Health Day, a day that is set aside by the World Health Organisation (WHO) To Celebrate good mental health to bring awareness to mental illness and mental disorders. The commemorations ran under the theme, mental health is a Universal Health Right.

According to the Final Situation Assessment report of drug use in five provinces to inform HIV and TB programming for people who use drugs, men who use drugs constitutes majority of drug users at 58.47 percent while women are at 40.59 percent. However, in terms of people injecting drugs as a percentage of their sub-group, women make up 53,25 percent while men constitute 28.23 percent.

 

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