02 October 2023

By Blessings Makuwira & Sellina Tambula (The Daily Times)


Forty-seven prisoners are on tuberculosis (TB) treatment in the country's penitentiary institutions, The Daily Times has learned.

Malawi Prison Service Chief Medical Officer Lawrence Chiwaula said, on the sidelines of a media tour of the prison's headquarters in Zomba, that overcrowding is one of the factors fuelling the situation. "This is a burden as, in most prisons, prisoners live in crowded spaces," he said.

The chief medical officer said some of the challenges they face pertain to lack of qualified medical personnel and mobility challenges, especially when they want to take patients to the hospital. Chiwaula was quick to say the situation has improved, attributing the development to interventions they have put in place.

"Despite having this number of inmates with TB, cases being registered have decreased over the past eight years due to periodic screening of inmates and other measures," he said.

According to Malawi Prison Service spokesperson Chimwemwe Shaba, there are 14,750 inmates in the country's prisons despite that their holding capacity is at 8,000.

The Malawi Government targets the year 2030 to end TB and leprosy cases in the country.