At least 20 patients suffering from mental disorders have been forcefully discharged from Port Reitz Mental Hospital after nurses working at the facility joined their colleagues in the nationwide strike.
Others seeking outpatient services were also turned away.
Port Reitz Mental Hospital serves Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River, Taita Taveta and Mombasa counties.
Most of patients suffering from mental disorders seek clinic services, injections and medications at the facility.
‘But those who come from outside Mombasa are normally admitted. Their conditions are desperate they might relapse due to lack of medical services,” said a striking nurse who sought anonymity.
The Port Reitz District Hospital Mental Health and Substance Abuse department is the second largest mental health institution in Kenya after the Mathari Mental Hospital in Nairobi.
The hospital has only one psychiatrist who also attends to patients battling drug abuse at Coast Provincial General hospital.
“The psychiatrist comes to attend to patients once per week,” said a nurse at the hospital.
The hospital has less than 20 workforce against a maximum number of 40 inpatient and around 60 outpatients.
However recently the executive member in charge of health Binti Omar told the Nation the county will address the woes at the mental department.
“We are looking at ways to employ more staff,” said Ms Omar.
A source working at the facility revealed to Nation that the hospital had discharged patients and their relatives called to pick them.
“We were told to bring them back when the strike is called off,” said a parent who had come to pick her daughter.
She said she was worried her child’s condition would worsen due to lack of medical attention.
Meanwhile, the x-ray machine at the facility has broken down further paralysing operations at the hospital for two weeks now.
Patients who need the services are now forced to seek them at private hospitals.
“The breakdown of the machines comes at a time when a new private X-ray clinic has been opened outside the public hospital,” said a doctor working at the hospital who wished for anonymity since he is not authorised to talk to the press.
Port Reitz charges Sh400 for an x-ray however private hospitals within Mombasa West area charge double the amount.
“The dangers of lacking the x-ray machine is misdiagnosis. Orthopaedic department can’t operate a without the X ray services,” added another doctor.