The Zambia Medical Association has expressed concern that the high number of Prohibited Immigrants detained in Zambian prisons without proper screening may pose a risk of transmitting the deadly Ebola virus.
The doctors’ body also recommends that the Immigrations department must take early steps to facilitate outright deportation of such PIs to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.
“Media reports attributed to the prisons authorities that suggested that our prisons have a huge number of PIs is a matter of serious concern. We wonder if any of them were screened for communicable diseases such as the ones that continue to ravage the continent. If screening was not done, then we strongly suggest that the immigration authorities should at the very least facilitate the deportation procedures and collaborate with ministries of health and immediately start screening those PIs. One can only imagine the magnitude of the loss of human life if any of the diseases was to break out in confinement,” he said.
Currently Zambian prisons are holding 18,228 inmates against an established facility of 3,150 (approximately 500% more than the facilities!) part of which are PIs, and prolonged detention due to the poor justice system in the country.