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The Shocking State of Mathari Hospital Raises Eyebrows

Purity Kinuthia



Established in the 90s, makes Mathari National Teaching and Referral one of the oldest public mental health care facility among the few we have in the country. The facility was set up at a time when people who suffered mental health disorders were taken to be harmful to other patients as well as caregivers. They were referred to as “lunatic asylums.”

Therefore architectural set up in1910 secluded the facility from the rest of the hospital, which left the patients isolated from the outside world. The institution till now still lacks basic infrastructure to render the best services to its patients and has little technological advancement since its founding.

The facility is congested at this point beyond its capacity. An institution meant to hold not more than 700 patients in its having double the population recommended. Besides this, it might amaze you to know not only are we experiencing congestion in the facilities but also understaffed.

It saddens our heart that some of the medics overwhelmed in caring for other patients, especially now during the pandemic time are still the same individuals offering psychological services for which they are not trained for. Currently, stuffing is at 386 to 1100 patients. These figures beat logic.

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Funding has also been a major problem year in year out. In the 2018/2019 financial year, funding on drugs was slashed from 17millon to 2.6 million. No wonder the cost of assessing mental health care needs one to be owning a gold mine to access the services. Financial constraints in the facility have forced civilians to bear the burden of poor funding by the government.

Uncompilable leaders and poor governance in the facility are to be blamed for the bad shape this national mental health care institution is experiencing. Corrupt officials play around whenever approval for money use is requested. The government should chip in to salvage Mathari National Teaching and Referral from the monument of shame it is.

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