Nearly 100 mentally ill patients escaped from hospital in Kenya

Nearly 100 mentally ill patients escaped from hospital in KenyaAt least 100 Kenyan mentally ill patients have reportedly escaped from a hospital in the capital Nairobi, as doctors and nurses went on a strike on Monday.

According to the Standard newspaper, doctors and nurses in the east African country began a nationwide strike after talks called by the health ministry collapsed over the weekend.

The report said authorities had since launched an operation to return the mentally ill patients.

Nairobi Police Commander Japheth Koome confirmed police have already arrested dozens of the mentally challenged patients who had escaped in an on-going operation.

Koome said the patients managed to escape after health workers at the Mathari Mental Hospital deserted duty leaving the patients unattended.

This comes after a meeting between the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) and the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Doctors Union (KMPPDU) and Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu to discuss the signing of the contentious collective bargaining agreement on Sunday flopped.

The Ministry of Health, National Treasury, Council of Governors and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) had a day-long meeting, in which the Treasury said the salary package can be implemented but over time.

The doctors and nurses unions had issued a 21-day strike notice, which elapsed Sunday mid-night.

The SRC recently released a report of a 17-month job evaluation exercise affecting civil servants and state officers, which includes all medics.

Both unions have rejected the commission’s report on job evaluation, saying it does not indicate what they should earn.

The doctors are demanding for a 300 percent increase in their salaries according to the CBA that was signed in the year 2013.

They say that since then, the government has never taken into account of the stipulations of the CBA.

It is not the first time that mentally ill patients escaped from the same hospital.

In 2013, a report by K24TV said that at least 40 mentally ill patients broke out of their holding cells at the Mathari hospital, leaving behind two security guards nursing serious injuries.
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