NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 5 – More than 100 patients are reported to have escaped from the Mathari Mental Hospital on Monday after doctors and nurses in the hospital joined the ongoing nationwide health workers strike.
Motorists and pedestrians along Thika Superhighway reported seeing the mentally challenged patients jumping over the Hospital perimeter fence.
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.
If the new demands are to be met, the lowest paid doctor will go home with Sh342,000 with the highest receiving Sh940,000 from the current pay of Sh40,000 for the lowest paiddoctor and Sh500,000 for the highest.