Mental patients could still remember how to climb walls as they happily escaped bondage from Kenya’s largest psychiatric hospital–Mathari Hospital–on Monday. The hospital breakout occurred as a result of the absence of medical personnel who had joined a nationwide strike.
About 5,000 Kenyan doctors and nurses embarked on a strike on Monday for higher wage after their negotiations with the Kenyan government crumbled on Sunday. The health workers have abandoned the hospitals leaving patients to be stranded. The health workers complained and accused the government of not treating them well despite the huge corruption scandals that have led to millions of dollars embezzled and unaccounted for.
The doctors are paid as low as $400 monthly while nurses make as little as $150 monthly. “Doctors with six years of training earn less than rookie police officers,” said Ouma Olunga, secretary-general of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists’ Union. The unions are demanding a 300 percent wage rise for the doctors and a 25 to 40 percent rise for the nurses as promised in 2013.
One of Kenya’s busiest highways–Thika highway–was at a standstill on Monday as the psychiatric patients ran towards the road. Motorists were stalled as the patients ran in between the cars. About 50 patients are still declared missing. The Kenyan police have launched a manhunt to find the missing patients.
The Kenyan Authorities need to act fast on this menace because if the breakout lingers, Kenyans might not feel safe considering the fact that someone by their side could just be an escaped psychiatric patient.