By Cephas Shava
CHIKOMBEDZI – A serious health crisis is brewing at the Free Methodist Church (FMC)-run Chikombedzi Mission Hospital as corpses are being left to spend several hours in the wards since the mortuary is no longer functional.
The hospital is no longer accommodating any bodies in the mortuary which has since been shut down. Those that die while admitted at the institution are just covered with blankets and made to remain in the wards until their relatives collect them.
The body of the late Mwenezi Zanu PF Ward 15 Cllr, Edson Chauke spent the whole of Sunday, November 17, night and much of the following day in the ward after his death at around 18:00htrs.
The body was only collected by his family around 17:00hrs the following day, meaning it spent close to 24hrs in the ward.
Ward 13 Mwenezi East Cllr Takura Mudavose, who was part of a team which visited the hospital to collect the body of their colleague, said he was shocked by what he witnessed at the hospital.
He said they just found Chauke’s body on the hospital bed covered with blankets and in the initial stages of decomposition in the sweltering heat.
“It was revolting to find our colleague’ decomposing body covered still in the ward in his ward. Had we delayed a little bit, it was going to be something else. Just imagine with this weather his dead body spent close to 24 hours in the hospital ward,” said Mudavose.
A nurse at the institution told TellZim News that they had completely shut down the mortuary service for reasons she could not disclose.
“The truth of the matter is that we no longer have a mortuary here. When we realise that a patient is no longer responding to treatment we urge relatives to ferry them home. We also advise people to collect their dead relatives’ bodies as soon as possible,” said the nurse who spoke on condition of anonymity.
It is understood machinery in the mortuary has broken down while the rolling electricity blackouts are not helping the matter.
Locals who spoke to TellZim News said the hospital used to be one of the best treatment centres which has, however, now turned into a pale shadow of its former self.
The Mission Hospital, besides servicing thousands of people within Chikombedzi, is also a referral centre of several people around the borders of Mwenezi and Chiredzi districts.
The hospital was built by FMC missionaries beginning in 1947 and was closed in the mid-1970s after being turned into a Rhodesian military camp. It was reopened after independence in 1981, and has become a referral hospital with 14 rural health clinics that rely on it for referral services.