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50 discharged clients stuck at mental hospital

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By Tiyese Monjeza

At least 50 individuals who were discharged from Zomba Mental Hospital (ZMH) remain stuck at the facility after their guardians and relatives are not picking them home, The Daily Times has learnt.

ZMH Principal Nursing Officer Rachel Champiti said some clients have stayed at the hospital for up to three years after they were certified fit and subsequently discharged.

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Champiti said the procedure requires that once a patient recovers, hospital officials should contact the person’s relatives who should arrange for transport.

She, however, indicated that some relatives have negative attitudes towards such people and ignore pleas that they should take them home.

“Most of the patients are brought here while in critical conditions with others being violent in their communities. So, once we contact their guardians that their relatives are now well, they have doubts and fear they will continue causing havoc in their communities,” Champiti said.

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She added that other clients are stuck at the facility because officials there do not have their full particulars and do not know who to contact when they get well.

“It is tricky because we cannot just allow them to leave on their own because they will still need some care and close monitoring once released,” Champiti said.

She was speaking on Saturday when St James Church Catholic Women Organisation (CWO), under the Archdiocese of Blantyre, conducted prayers and donated assorted items at the facility.

Champiti said currently they are working with the district’s social welfare office in tracking homes and relations of individuals who were discharged so that they can pick them up.

St James Church CWO Chairperson Sellina Thawe spoke against discriminating against people suffering from mental disorders, saying what they need most is compassion and love.

Zomba Diocese Chaplain for Prisons and Hospitals Reverend Raphael Mbendera, who led the prayers, said mysterious deaths that have been reported at the facility call for God’s interventions.

The past few months, four patients have died in mysterious circumstances at ZMH which has 350 patients admitted there currently.

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