Western Province has a total number of 12, 126 on Anti-retroviral Therapy out of 17, 885 patients enrolled in HIV care.
And about 109 prisoners in the region are HIV positive and are on ART treatment in
This came to light the provincial AIDS Task Force meeting in Mongu that was held at the Minister’s conference hall
Lewanika General Hospital task force focal point person Shadreck Habbanti disclosed that 4, 234 patients were lost to follow up due to self stigma, lack of adequate information of HIV infections and drug side effects, congestion and long waiting hours at health facilities among other factors.
Mr. Habbanti added however stressed that the number of the patients lost to follow up reduced from 4, 234 to 802 from August to September this year after a follow up system was put in place to locate patients and clients.
Meanwhile, Prisons Service focal point Person Sub Inspector Martin Hankwa said of the 109 inmates seven (07) are females while 102 are males respectively.
He commended the Ministry of Health and nongovernmental organisations for their good response in improving the health of people living with HIV in Prisons.
Sub Inspector Hankwa however bemoaned that lack of supplementary food for inmates on anti-retroviral therapy.
He said government is unable to provide supplementary food for prisoners on ART saying government only provides a normal dietary scale for all prisoners.
And Sub- Inspector Hankwa has dismissed allegations that prisoners at Mongu Central Prisons were engaging in homosexuality activities.
Sub Inspector Hankwa said the prisons are very congested adding there was adequate lighting system at night hence it is impossible for such activities to take place.
He was reacting to People’s Participation Service Provincial Aids Taskforce focal point person Eugene Nyambe who alleged that there was information that some inmates in Mongu central Prisons were involved in homosexual activities, during the Provincial Aids Task Force (PATF) meeting held at Provincial Conference hall yesterday.
Inspector Hankwa pointed out that inmates are not very exposed to technology making it very difficult for such cases to be recorded adding that reached stiff measures have been put in place to ensure that such activities were not occurring in Prisons.
Sub Inspector Hankwa said the Service in the region has been involved in HIV/AIDS, T. B, correctional and rehabilitation and skills training programmes as an approach to improve lives of prisoner’s lives and health when in prison and out to their communities.
He revealed that so far, 41 male inmates at Mongu central Prisons have undergone circumcision adding the Service is yet to conduct a programme to encourage female inmates to screen for cervical cancer.
Sub Inspector Hankwa added that the Prison Service has embarked on religious and educational programmes to provide quality human custodial and correctional services to prisoners as they are part of the community saying that a health prisoner is a health community.
The task force met in preparation of the World AIDS day which falls on the 1st of December and the commemoration is scheduled to be held in Shangombo district.