ZPCS records 779 mental patients countrywide

Source: ZPCS records 779 mental patients countrywide | The Herald

ZPCS records 779 mental patients countrywide

Ivan Zhakata Herald Correspondent

The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) has recorded a total of 779 mental health patients who are still under trial countrywide as of October 6.

Speaking during a media tour organised by the National Aids Council, chief director health services at ZPCS Commissioner Evidence Gaka said mental patients were coupled by an increase in drug and substance abuse.

Comm Gaka said they have established special institutions which are responsible for a large proportion of the mental health services in Zimbabwe.

“As you are all aware, there is an increase in drug and substance abuse in Zimbabwe and this has caused an increase in admissions of patients with substance induced mental health conditions in special institutions,” he said.

“As of 6 October 2022, ZPCS had a total of 779 mental patients (not convicted prisoners). The number of patients admitted at Chikurubi Special Institution was 478 against an official holding capacity of 150. The institution is thus clearly overcrowded.

“At Mlondolozi, the number of mental patients was 301 against an official holding capacity of 406 patients. Such increasing numbers negatively impact on the rehabilitation process for patients as the institutions are not adequately resourced to cater for such large numbers.”

Comm Gaka said family members of the respective patients were expected to be actively involved in the patients’ assessment, treatment and discharge processes.

He said social support efforts which were being provided to patients were inadequate and this had resulted in further delays towards the patients’ rehabilitation processes leading to overcrowding.

ZPCS conducts periodic Anti-drug and Substance Awareness Campaigns at all levels from national, provincial down to station.

Comm Gaka said ZPCS in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and other stakeholders were working towards the implementation of the National Development Strategy 1(NDS1) National Priorities which among others include health and wellness.

“The overall outcome of the health and wellbeing priority area under NDS1, is to improve quality of life, increase life expectancy at birth. It therefore follows that as a nation we have to scale up our game on health and wellbeing, given that NDS1 identifies health as a fundamental human right as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act 2013,” he said.

Mental health is governed by many internal factors like anxiety, fear, depression and worry; as well as outside forces such as sickness, hardship, and loss.

ZPCS has two mental health facilities which facilities are referred to as special institutions.

These special institutions are administered under the Mental Health Act of 1996 (section 107) for the assessment and treatment of men and women who commit crimes because they are mentally challenged or intellectually handicapped.

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