'4 million Zimbabweans mentally ill'

HARARE - As the economy continues to tumble, many Zimbabweans are now unknowingly suffering from mental illnesses that could only get worse, a leading a psychiatrist has warned.

David Mukwekwezeke, a senior resident medical officer at Parirenyatwa hospital said in an opinion piece that although the incident may be purely coincidental, medical research corroborates the rise in mental illness.

In the past month, Zimbabwe has been rocked by uprisings and social unrest as citizens air their grievances towards a failing government.

First to spark the unrest was riots in Beitbridge which resulted in the burning of a bonded warehouse, destroying property worth millions.

The unrest was followed by a chain of protests against police roadblocks, vice president Phelekezela Mphoko’s lengthy stay at Rainbow Towers and a stay away by government workers.

According to 2015 ministry of health statistics, there are approximately 91 390 mentally ill patients in Zimbabwe.

The country has two dedicated mental hospitals in Zimbabwe, Ingutsheni in Bulawayo and Ngomahuru in Masvingo, with other hospitals having units for mentally ill patients.

“It is blatantly clear that the economic hardships, pervasive comments by the ruling elite and a multitude of other events currently happening are psychological stressors which continue to replicate in our psyche both collective and individual and this will ultimately lead to dysregulation of mood, thought and or behaviour,” Mukwekwezeke said.

Last year, government launched a four-year strategic plan that seeks, among other things, to guide the implementation of the mental health policy of 2004 by harmonising activities and improving the provision of drugs.

Mukwekwezeke said there are revelations by seasoned psychiatrist Dickson Chibanda which indicate that about five million Zimbabweans or 40 percent of the population suffer from some form of mental illness, compared to 1,3 million of 2015.

He added that coupled with the poor state of mental health services in a country, with less than 10 psychiatrists, the country is headed towards a collapse as some leaders also exhibit signs of mental illness.

At the launch of the four-year strategic plan, Health minister David Parirenyatwa said economic hardships and drug abuse were pushing up the incidents of mental illnesses.

Parirenyatwa also said there were a limited number of psychiatrists with Ingustheni only having one doctor instead of eight, Ngomahuru having none but requiring five doctors while Parirenyatwa and Harare hospitals which are supposed to have 20, only having 10 psychiatrists.

Comments (8)

Mugabe is a devil

Mboombah - 24 July 2016

We have all got to be crazy to live in the country.

george - 24 July 2016

This findings confirms what I had suspected for a long time. Any of my former colleagues I talk to back home sounds the same tone: disenchanted and totally inert. All of them read for me the same verse: "zvinhu zvakaoma vakomana". Suffice to say nobody can expect to see normal people living in a country with abnormal conditions. For most people its worse for them when they see Zanu-Pf thieves living supra-paradise lives in a sea of poverty in which they are fighting desperately to avoid getting drowned to their death. They tried everything including assemblies for prayers but in vain. God the almighty has forgotten (or is it forsaken) our country.

Pokeman Go. - 24 July 2016

Ndiani angarege kupenga nematuzvi arikuitika munyika ino. We all suffer from mental illnesses. Poverty is the main culprit that has visited almost every household in this country. The only exceptions are the ministers and senior government officials who are milking the country dry and are always laughing all the way to the bank where they have no limit on what they can withdraw from their bank accounts. These are the guys who do not want any change in the status quo as it works in their interests. What a lovely country we have!!!!

Chimbwido Warvet - 25 July 2016

Even the rich are also getting mad because how can you explain a situation where a normal person builds a 50 bedroomed house instead of a hotel that will generate income for the rest of his life.

chimuti - 25 July 2016

senior resident medical officer (srmo) hahahahahaha That means this fellow graduated last year. No were near a psychiatrist. Fresh out of medical school.

anri3v - 25 July 2016

Four million mentally ill due to violent political indoctrination.......AGREED!!

Mukanya - 26 July 2016

After being led a bunch of mad men and women for 36 years how can we be expected to remain sane. An army of donkeys led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a donkey!

Mhepoyenzara - 26 July 2016

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