Kenya police are now on the search as 40 patients escaped from the country’s only psychiatric hospital in Nairobi. The incident occurred on Sunday as 75 mental patients overtook the guards at Mathari Mental Hospital and 40 of them escaped, according to Samuel Anampiu, the local police chief in charge.
All escapees were male patients, and Anampiu said Monday that they had been complaining about their medications being ineffective. Nine of the 40 patients have since been brought back to the hospital by parents and guardians, according to hospital’s medical superintendent, Dr. Kisivuli Azenga.
A manhunt has since been launched to find the remaining patients who are still on the loose. Azenga assured everyone Monday that they are not a “danger to society,” though it’s important to get them back to the hospital for treatment as soon as possible.
Azenga added that the incident was influenced by one of the patients who incited the others after the attendants delayed giving the rest of them their medicine. They eventually took control, and 40 patients escaped in the process.
The patients have been said to be non-threatening, though the local police told BBC that some of the escapees were known to be violent. Though some have been brought back, the search continues while others look for more answers as to the cause of the situation.
According to the Associated Press, mental health care in Kenya suffers from a lack of funding that prevents many patients from receiving the proper assistance. These issues may or may not have influenced the outbreak by the patients on Sunday though the main concern is to find the rest and get them back safely.
Hospital officials immediately informed the local police of the patients that went missing along with photos of each of them. An escape of this size is highly unusual, no matter where you are in the world, and local law enforcement will surely investigate the matter much further once the rest of the patients are returned to the hospital safely.
Do you believe more could have been done to prevent the 40 patients from escaping, or was their no way around the incident due to the number of patients?
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]