Four mental illness patients abandoned at a Kisumu hospital

MCAs on fact-finding tour told patient has been in hospital for 25 years

In Summary

•The facility serves patients from counties in Nyanza and neighbouring counties.

•Some of the cases handled at the facilities include drug-induced psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar mood disorder, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, and schizoaffective disorder.

Kisumu county assembly health committee chairman Vincent Jagongo during a tour of the Kisumu County Referral Hospital on Monday, March 2, 2020
STIGMA BLAMED: Kisumu county assembly health committee chairman Vincent Jagongo during a tour of the Kisumu County Referral Hospital on Monday, March 2, 2020





Four patients with mental illness have been abandoned at the Kisumu County Referral Hospital.

Members of the county assembly's health committee on Monday toured the hospital and established the four have been abandoned by their families.

Among those abandoned is Sylvester Onyango who was taken to hospital by a good samaritan 25 years ago. The rest have been in the hospital for between one month and four years.

The MCAs team led by committee chair Vincent Jagongo was told that families and relatives abandon the patients after they were diagnosed with mental illness.

Records show Onyang was suffering from temporal lobe epilepsy when he was admitted. He also exhibited psychotic symptoms.

The hospital management said there was a shortage of beds and that the abandonment of the patients had caused congestion.

Kisumu County Referral Hospital has a 30-bed capacity. 

Cases of families abandoning their sick relatives are on the rise and are largely attributed to stigma.

Health officers said the patients are abandoned because of the association of mental illness with curses.

Jagongo said there was an urgent need to expand the psychiatric ward to handle the increased number of patients.

He said there was need for an isolation room and asked that more staff be employed to deal with the growing number of patients.

“As a committee, we are going to push for more funding to the health sector so that it caters for all departments in our public hospitals,” Jagongo said.

He asked Governor Anyang Nyong’o to ensure hospitals are well funded and equipped for effective services.

“The health docket is very crucial and should be tackled with a lot of care. The welfare of health providers should also be well taken care of,” Jagongo said.

Health chief officer Joseph Okweso assured that the county government was committed to healthcare provision to residents. He dismissed claims of drug shortage, saying there was enough medicine in hospitals.

Residents recently claimed there were no drugs, food for inpatients and reagents for tests at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kisumu County Hospital and Ahero County Hospital.

They asked Nyong’o to equip the hospitals so the facilities can offer quality services.

Okweso said that health facilities were properly working. He, however, attributed challenges to the Universal Health Care pilot programme which he said had increased the number of patients.


edited by peter obuya

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