MASVINGO – A Masvingo West villager Tichaona Chiminya has threatened legal action against the Ministry of Health and Child Care if it fails to solve the water crisis affecting Ngomahuru Psychiatric Hospital.
By Brighton Chiseva/TellZimbabwe
In a letter addressed to the Minister of Health and Child Care, Chiminya, who is being represented by Martin Mureri of Matutu and Mureri Legal Practitioners, says it is unacceptable that mental patients are having to bath in the river due to power failure which makes pumping of water to the institution impossible.
The letter notes that patients at Ngomahuru are taking a bath in a river which is about a kilometre from the institution.
“We are reliably advised that patients at Ngomahuru Hospital have for the past month and a half been taking a bath at Magwagwadza River which is about a kilometre away from the institution. The patients are being taken to the river both males and females at the same time to bath.
“We are further advised that residents from the area have been raising concerns with the authorities at the hospital who instead have advised that they have no other option because of the incessant water challenges and Zinwa is also putting the blame on ZETDC for not supplying electricity to enable them to pump water to the institution,” reads the letter
Chiminya says the situation is a untenable and an affront to the dignity of the mental institution’s inmates who are protected by the constitution of Zimbabwe
“The right to health of patients and the community is being seriously compromised in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic and other diseases. More than 200 patients bathing in one source of water that is also used by the community is deplorable and an emergency health situation.
“The community is at great risk as patients who are supposed to be confined in an institution are being daily released into the community without any safety measures being taken. The patients themselves are being put to great risk of drowning or being attacked by crocodiles,” reads the letter, copies of which were sent to power utility ZETDC and water authority Zinwa.
Chiminya demands that water be restored immediately and that the Ministry of Health and Childcare must stop Ngomahuru inmates from being taken to the river for bathing.
“We are instructed to demand as we hereby do that you restore water supply to the institution within 24 hours of sight of this letter and immediately protect the patients by stopping the institution from taking patients to the river to bath. Failure to meet the above demand will result in legal action against you without further notice,” reads the letter.