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30 mentally ill patients thrown out of hospital as nurses’ strike bites

At least 30 mentally ill patients admitted at Port Reitz Hospital, in Mombasa, were on Wednesday forcefully discharged as the nurses’ strike entered its third day.

The mental patients and those battling addictions were discharged from the inpatient section, while those coming in for treatment were turned away.

The public hospital has the largest mental health and substance abuse section in the Coast region.

Our team found the facility deserted as some of the patients were being picked by their relatives.

Speaking to Nation at the facility, some relatives who were waiting for clearance said they had been contacted by the hospital to come pick their patients.

‘OUR PATIENT IS VIOLENT’

“We were told to come and pick our patients who were in the inpatient department due to the strike. Since Monday when nurses boycotted duties, no one has been taking care of them. We have nowhere to take them. We are worried because our patient is very violent, we cannot keep him at home,” said Ms Miriam Mugandi who was waiting for clearance.

County Health Chief Officer Khadija Shikely said: “I cannot confirm for you anything because I am in Nairobi for a meeting in regards to the nurses’ strike. Call Dr Patta he is the one taking charge.”

Efforts to get Dr Shem Patta, The County Director of Medical Services, were futile as OUR calls went unanswered.

Port Reitz Mental Hospital serves six counties at the Coast including Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River, Taita Taveta and Mombasa.

ONLY ONE PSYCHIATRIST

The hospital has only one psychiatrist who also attends to patients battling drug abuse at Coast Provincial General hospital.

“We are suffering and burning out, this hospital lacks resident psychiatrists. It is only nurses and interns who attend to the patients. The psychiatrist comes to attend to patients once per week,” said a nurse at the hospital.