A tuberculosis (TB) outbreak has reportedly hit Bulawayo’s Ingutsheni Psychiatric Hospital, with patients and members of staff being screened and quarantined to contain the spread of the virulent disease.
Ingutsheni is the country’s largest mental referral hospital.
Reports indicate that close to 41 patients housed at the Mzilikazi ward and an undisclosed number of staffers have been infected by the airborne disease.
Relatives of patients admitted to the mental health centre accused the mental institution’s administration of not doing anything for their loved ones.
“Our relatives have been infected with TB (but) they are not receiving any treatment and this is bad. Our loved ones went into the centre suffering from mental-related problems and not from other diseases,” she said.
Ingutsheni spokesperson Vongai Chimbindi, who initially denied the claims, confirmed that they were screening patients and staff for TB.
“There is no outbreak in our hospital. Those who say our patients are not being given medication are not telling the truth. We have been screening patients in our wards and the results have shown that all our patients and staff members are negative,” she said.
Chimbindi said members of staff who had been screened were back at work after being certified disease-free.
“As a hospital, we have patients who have a history of having suffered from TB, so from time to time we screen them. As it is, the situation on the ground is that all of our patients are negative,” she said.
“Our patients are referred to us from general hospitals and it is government’s policy that when a patient is admitted in any hospital, he or she is screened for TB and HIV. If the patient is suffering from any of the two diseases, they are given medication and we continue with that treatment at Ingutsheni.”
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