Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) has appealed to members of Parliament (MPs) to ensure that the health system in prisons is well funded in the national budget.
CHREAA has made the appeal as MPs will soon review budget allocations in the 2014/15 national budget, among them, the prison health allocation of K164 490 045, an increase of K104 185 670 from the previous year’s K60 304 375.
In a statement signed by CHREAA executive director Victor Mhango, the organisation says provision of health care in prisons must be put on top of the agenda, noting that Section 42 (1) of the Constitution stipulates that “everyone has a right to be detained under conditions consistent with human dignity”.
Reads the statement: “The Prison Health Budget for 2014/15 suggests that screening for TB, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] will be allocated K15 280 000. This strong increase will provide the necessary provisions to enable to prevent the spread of such diseases in prisons.
“This, coupled with training of nurses and monitoring and evaluation officers as well as conducting clinics in prisons, will lead the way to healthier and STD-free prisons.”
CHREAA has, however, commended the Ministry of Finance for the over 50 percent increase, saying it demonstrates that government believes that health challenges in prisons must be addressed.
The organisation says diseases that are rife in prisons must be treated with drugs, noting that failure to do so will put at risk lives of prisoners and people who work within prisons.