65 years without laboratory, authorities lament

Zomba Mental Hospital is the oldest hospital in the country. The facility was built in 1950 and rolled out its operations in 1953; thus serving the nation for close to 65 years.

However, the largest hospital which deals with psychiatric problems in the country is facing several challenges as being attested by the Director of mental health services at Zomba mental hospital Immaculate Chamangwana.

“Staffing is a great challenge here; the situation is that one person has to attend to more than 40 patients which is not even health for the staff,” Said Chamangwana.

As if not enough, the hospital which accommodates over 400 bed referrals and 8 wards with daily occupancy of 200 to 250 patients is still using mental treatment act of 1948 which violets some principles of human rights.

Quoting chamangwana, the hospital does not have a laboratory despite government’s earlier commitment to construct one in 2015.

“For the 65 years we have not had a laboratory facility, this a great setback considering that we sometimes fail to examine our patients, we would ask government to help us,” she lamented.

Reacting to the concerns, vice chairperson for parliamentary committee on health Davie Kadzinja who visited the hospital together with eight other members of committee described the tour as an eye opener.

For the committee Kadzinja pledged to take up the issues suffocating service delivery at the mental hospital to parliament for further consideration.

“We have see all for ourselves, as members of parliament we pledge to take all the issues to the parliament for deliberations,” Kadzinja said.

If there is anything health officials at Zomba mental hospital would want government to do, then is to improve quality of services at the hospital which are below standards due to lack of mental health professionals and other challenges.

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