Mathari Mental Hospital has made the decision to halt inpatient services in compliance to the government directive on social distancing amid COVID-19 menace in the country.
The decision has affected close to 500,000 mentally ill patients who sought the facility’s services. For instance, some family members have expressed their worries while at the same time citing that the lock down in Nairobi has hugely impacted their lives.
Apparently, the hospital indicated the decision to halt inpatient services was to avoid overcrowding amid the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.
Families living outside Nairobi have also been hugely affected as there are very limited alternative medical facilities in various counties.
Speaking to a local blog, a relative to one of the mentally ill patients accounted that it was hectic dealing with them at home as some are very violent yet there are children in the house.
“You can imagine staying with someone who is violent and hard to restrain under one roof with young children. Everyone is always tense and looking out lest she harms herself or the children. What is worse is that she cannot sleep,” a Kayole, Nairobi resident lamented after his sister-in-law was discharged.
Further, efforts by some of their family members to return them to the facilities were futile as the nurses and security guards stated that they were under strict directives not to let anyone in.
“How can serious cases requiring admission be sent away? And with the cancellation of the Tuesday clinic sessions, where will the about 200 patients who normally benefit go?” Dannish Odongo, a Mental Health Association member wondered.
Mental Health Association members are seeking to engage the government to provide alternative health care options as well as setting up an emergency team through a hotline where nurses can be contacted to give details on drug prescriptions.
Currently, the country has 246 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths and 53 recoveries.