GWERU-Gweru Provincial Hospital (GPH) Medical Superintendent Dr Fabian Mashingaidze said there are attending to an average of 12 drug addicts per month as a result overwhelming the health institution because they had not anticipated the influx.

Dr Mashingaidze was speaking on the sidelines of the commissioning of the US$193 000 state of the art GPH Opportunistic Infection (OI) and Anti-retroviral Treatment Therapy (ART) Center of Excellence which was officially opened by the Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Larry Mavima.

“We have seen an increased admissions into our mental health facility because of substance abuses. The cases have been on the rise and obviously we have not been fully prepared to manage these increased cases,” he said.

Dr Mashingaidze said there is need for a multi- stakeholders approach to curb the uptake of drugs and substances.

“We hope the Ministry of Health and Child Care continues to come up with strategies to combat drug abuse and all the stakeholders to have an input to deal with the substance abuses. The facilities that are currently present might not be enough,” he said.

On the OI and ART Center of Excellence, Dr Mashingaidze said the new facility will go a long way in assisting the hospital to manage HIV cases.

“There are currently 3600 registered patients and we continue to get new patients on a daily basis, hence the new facility is going to give more space, more confidentiality to our patients which was not possible in a small squashed facility,” said Dr Mashingaidze.

Meanwhile, the Midlands Province Medical Director Dr Marry Muchekeza red flagged the Apostolic Sect for resisting immunization programs against measles.

“We are going around the districts vaccinating all children under five years old against measles in order to respond to the ongoing outbreak. As I speak, today our cumulative cases for the measles in the Province has been 715 and unfortunately we have lost 69 children and most of these are from the members from the unvaccinated Apostolic Sect that religiously object to our vaccination campaign and we will do our best to have their children vaccinated,” said Dr Muchekeza.

She added that although the Province registered positive developments in the health delivery system, however, they are facing “challenges of unprecedented rate of staff turnover especially for nurses and doctors”.

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