Government fails to contain TB in Prisons

Tuberculosis cases are on the increase in Zambian prisons and authorities have expressed disappointment that government has paid low attention to the scourge which has led to many prisons deaths.

This came to light yesterday when commissioner of prisons Percy Chato visited Mukobeko medium and maximum prisons in Kabwe where over 200 cases of TB have been recorded.

And speaking when he addressed the inmates ahead of the World TB day, Chato said the PF government had put in place measures to combat TB among inmates, but sources told the Zambian Watchdog that government had no money and medical personnel to screen prisoners upon admission.

“The main cause apart from congestion is that newly admitted inmates come into prison without being screened upon admission and this is all because of the inadequate clinical staff. Under normal circumstances all prisons are supposed to have testing equipment and clinical staff stationed at the facility. Some come with the infections and later contaminate the inmates, so just fighting it from inside is not helping at all,” said the source.

The source also suggested that community and suspended sentencing be encouraged among judiciary officers for lesser offences instead of always resorting to custodial sentencing.

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