Prisons Service prioritises health


THE Zambia Prison Services says health service needs for prisoners and prison officials are a priority for the service.
Commissioner of Prisons Percy Chato said the Prison Amendment Act of 2004, provided a legal framework to make the provision of health care in the prison environment a reality.
Mr Chato was speaking at the launch of a mobile hospital at Kamfinsa State prison in Kitwe yesterday.
He said the mobile hospital would contribute greatly to the welfare of prisoners and prison officers at Kamfinsa in as far as health was concerned.
“Allow me to re-emphasise that despite the challenges that hamper the prison services efforts to provide quality health, like inadequate health facilities, poor nutrition and inadequate transport, meeting the exceptional health service needs of prisoners, prison officers and prison communities is a priority of the prisons service,” he said.
He said the presence of the mobile hospital at the prison was an indication that everyone was committed to ensuring that principles of good prison management were realised which included good public health as a respect to human rights and international law.
Mr Chato said the services of the mobile hospital would accord prisoners and members of staff access to professional and quality health facilities right at their door-steps.
He also said it would reduce the number of prisoners referred to Kitwe Central Hospital and enhance security at Kamfisa prison.
“We are aware that although some human rights of individuals are curtailed upon conviction, one continues to enjoy the right to life which involves good health,” he said.
Mr Chato said the prison service was no longer only providing custody to the prisoners but had also embraced the paradigm shift and was conducting correction measures which were taught to the inmates.
He thanked the Government through the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Community Development and Child Health for the support they continued to render to the Zambia Prisons Service in uplifting the health standards of the prison community.
Director of mobile hospitals Copperbelt region Alex Mwakupe said the mobile hospital would be stationed at Kamfinsa for five days and for the first time circumcision would be conducted.