Govt must provide medication for prisoners

EDITOR — It made sad reading that prison inmates have claimed an acute shortage of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) in the country’s prisons and correctional facilities is now threatening their survival.

According to press reports  government is failing to provide medication in prisons and correctional facilities threatening the lives of many prisoners who suffer from HIV and other ailments.

I am sure it is not just the shortage of ARVs but of many life prolonging drugs that prisoners need.

I believe it is a basic human right for people to have access to basic health care including having access to the necessary medications they need.

Government has a constitutional obligation to make sure that all inmates in our prisons and correctional facilities are looked after in a humane and rehabilitative manner. Thus, HIV positive inmates have to be supplied with ARVs by the State through the ZPCS which administratively falls under the ministry of Justice.

The government is aware that some of these medications are supposed to be taken continuously and for life.

Government should make sure that whoever needs medication has access to it.

I know that some people might feel that prisoners are responsible for their situation but they should be given their medication.

According to press reports prisoners have expressed concern about their well being as a result of the shortage of these essential drugs.

During one of the trials, a prisoner said they were  not getting regular dosages of cotrimoxazole and other ARVs because they are not available there.

Inmates say prisons are a ticking health time bomb, as they are denied basic human needs like food, medication, among other facilities.

Analysts have said that access to health and medical facilities is a basic human right that must be protected by government, which is responsible for prisoners’ welfare.

Government must provide all prisoners with the necessary medication they need.


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