Manicaland Province is appealing for more funding to deal with increasing numbers of mental health cases with the problems grossly underfunded in the province.

The closure of Sakubva Provincial Psychiatric Unit in 2014 left the province without a place to treat psychiatric patients yet Manicaland Province is attending to over 2 500 cases every month.

In an interview on the sidelines of a mental health training seminar for mental health nurses, acting provincial mental health coordinator for Manicaland Province, Dr Philip Mukorombindo said the province is incapacitated to attend to mental health cases as there is no place to treat them.

He said not even a single psychiatrist is working in the public sector with the situation being exacerbated by shortage of mental health nurses as the province only has 19.

Dr Mukorombindo added that the challenge requires both government intervention and support from development partners.

“Manicaland is recording the biggest number of mental cases in the country, yet the province does not have a psychiatric unit. There is also a shortage of relevant staff to attend to the thousands of cases every month,” he said.

Mutare Provincial Hospital is attending to over a thousand patients every month.

Chipinge district medical officer, Dr Brain Makumbe also appealed for more support highlighting that the current figures on mental health are a gross underestimation as Chipinge district alone is attending to over 1 100 mental health cases.

“We are currently attending to over 1 000 mental cases, but the figure is a gross underestimation as there are many cases in the district,” said Dr Makumbe.

Zimbabwe currently has four tertiary psychiatric units in Bulawayo, Harare and Masvingo, while there are four psychiatric units at provincial level in Chinhoyi, Gweru and Marondera as well as in the district of Mutoko.