BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
INGUTSHENI Hospital chief executive Nemache Mawere yesterday said the mental health institution was safe from the COVID-19 pandemic after introducing the “no COVID-19 certificate, no admission” principle.
He said the policy had protected the hospital’s staff from its 650 inmates.
The country’s largest mental health institution, which has a carrying capacity of 710 patients, currently accommodates 650 patients, with three quarters being male and the other quarter consisting of females.
Mawere said with many of their patients unable to mask up, they saw the “no COVID-19 certificate, no admission” principle fit for the mental institution to be safe from the pandemic.
“We made a deliberate policy that we will not admit patients who do not know or are not aware of their COVID-19 status. We did this because three out of four of our patients fail to mask up and this becomes a very difficult situation if we keep on admitting patients unknowingly,” he said.
Mawere said ever since the emergence of COVID-19, they had not recorded any cases recorded at the medical facility.
“This policy has been of great help because we have managed to keep patients out of danger. Any patient who might show symptoms of COVID-19, we quickly send them away to the correct facilities such as United Bulawayo Hospitals and Mpilo Central Hospital,” he said.
Mawere added that they also test their own staff every day to prevent and protect their patients from contracting the virus. He said for some of the patients, the health institution had suggested that they get treatment from home under family care.
“We have convinced people to look after their own and what we do is, we supply them with medication which lasts up to a month or three months or so to avoid people from coming in every day. We frequently run out of stock, but we quickly manage to restock,” the Ingutsheni Hospital boss said.
“Government has been very supportive with funds because we have been able to buy affordable medication. There is modern medication and it is more effective, but the problem is it is very expensive.”