Forty psychiatric patients escaped from Mathari Mental Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya on Sunday. More than half of the 70 men who tried to escape succeeded, overpowering the guards at the main gate and climbing over the walls of the facility.
Mathari Mental Hospital is the only public psychiatric hospital in Kenya, where poverty is prevalent and funding for mental illness is lacking. Some of the hospital’s patients have complained that their medication is ineffectual, and others have said that they were not receiving treatment in a timely manner. There had also been rumors that the hospital’s nurses were on strike just before the exodus occurred.
Kenyan police reported that ten of these patients have since returned to the hospital, most of whom were brought back by family members. Although the patients who have not yet returned aren’t considered dangerous, the hospital’s superintendent stresses that they should return to the hospital to complete their treatment.