ZIMBABWE—A Chinhoyi Hospital student nurse tried to kill herself twice a fortnight ago after her tutor caused her to fail her exams unless she gave in to his sexual advances.
Wonder Mushongahande the tutor has since been suspended from official duty pending investigations into the matter. Sources at the hospital said the student nurse, Mercy Mapfumo, first tried to kill herself in Harare Gardens after taking an overdose of an unnamed substance.
She had left a suicide note in her room at Chinhoyi Hospital before travelling to Harare. Attempts to locate her at the hospital and home in Harare failed. Mapfumo however was later found at Parerinyatwa Group of Hospitals where she attempted to kill herself again by taking another overdose of unknown tablets.
In the suicide note, Mapfumo accused Mushongahande of deliberately causing her to fail after she turned down his sexual advances several times. Mapfumo wrote that all avenues open to her to get audience with authorities failed on the matter.
Another student nurse at the hospital, who refused to be named for fear of victimisation, said Mapfumo’s case was just a tip of the iceberg as a lot of female student nurses had fallen victim to unscrupulous tutors and doctors.
“This is not new at the hospital as most female student nurses have been abused by tutors and a senior doctor at the hospital,” said the student nurse. The matter was reported at Chemagamba Police Station.
Efforts to get a comment from Mushongahande were fruitless last week. But Chinhoyi Hospital Superintendent Dr Collet Mawire confirmed they were investigating the case and that Mushongahande had been suspended.
Sexual abuse of students at hospital, colleges and universities is said to be rife throughout the country. However, the majority of the cases are allegedly swept under the carpet as authorities connive with the culprits for fear of putting the names of institutions into disrepute.