A group of youth stormed a private holding centre for the mentally ill people in Shanzu, Kisauni demanding its closure.
The youth said the centre is risking their lives after claiming some of the recovering mentally ill patients have Covid-19, a
claim refuted by the proprietor of the centre.
Police had to come in and disperse the rowdy youth, most of who were intoxicated.
Three people were arrested including a neighbour and his mother.
Police say the neighbour had incited the youth, who threatened to burn down the facility.
“We do not want people bringing corona here! We do not want to be locked down like Old Town!” the youth shouted.
The facility was first established at the Kenya Coast National Polytechnic formerly MTTI barely four months ago.
However, it had to be relocated to Shanzu after the institution sought to begin renovations in preparation for reopening.
Roseline Wamaitha, a neighbour who was arrested together with her son, said Shanzu has not reported any Covid-19 case and they would like to keep it that way.
“But now, for the last two to three weeks, we have been brought people here who we don’t know,” said Wamaitha.
She said there are 55 patients crammed in the three-bedroom house, a claim
Amina Abdalla, the proprietor of the facility, refuted.
Wamaitha said five of the patients have the Coronavirus.
[Ms Amina Abdalla (centre) helping a mentally sick person get Covid-19 test. Photo/courtesy].
Abdalla said there are only 38 recovering patients after 17 of them recovered fully and were discharged.
“This is a project that I started months ago and there were five of them who tested Covid-19 positive but we managed them until they
recovered and turned negative again,” said Abdalla.
“None of the patients here are Covid-19 positive.”
She said they are now looking for another place to relocate the facility.
“I will not abandon these patients. They have become my responsibility. I do not want them in an environment that is not welcoming to them because it will hinder their recovery,” she said.
She continued “I am looking for another place so we can move out of here because the neighbours do not want them here,” she said.
Wamaitha said the patients should be relocated to Port Reitz Mental Hospital.
Lucas Bindi, a next door neighbour, said his eight-year-old daughter took a photo, from their balcony, of a man in his mid-50’s taking a
bath in the middle of the compound.
“You can imagine what this does to my daughter psychologically,” said Bindi.
[A care giver maintaining personal hygiene for mentally sic patient. Photo/courtesy].
He accused Abdalla of doing business with the mentally ill patients at the expense of the neighbours morals and comfort.
However, Abdalla said the statement shows that society has been looking down upon and neglecting persons with mental challenges.
She said mental challenges are a disease like any other and can occur to anyone at any stage of growth.
“Our facility holds persons who were once successful entrepreneurs, professionals, university students who underwent depression, a
qualified electrician, a professional hairdresser, elderly persons who underwent family neglect among others whose such predicaments would have been resolved through medical and psychological support,” said Abdalla.
She said the whole matter was planned and took a political angle when the rowdy youth chanted that this is not the way to look for political positions.
Abdalla once vied for the Kisauni MP seat in the 2013 general elections.
She said before the chaos instigated by the rowdy youth, county health officials were at the facility trying to come up with an amicable
solution after the neighbours wrote a complaint letter.
During the chaos, County public health chief officer Aisha Abubakar and her team were in the facility together with Abdalla and three of the neighbours to try and find an amicable solution.
The meeting was also meant to de-escalate fears that the patients had Covid-19 and could spread it.