Overcrowding in Malawi’s prisons has been singled out as one of the factors contributing to the spread of HIV and Tuberculosis (TB).
This statement has been made at a meeting on the presentation of findings of independent end of project evaluation and launch of integrated TB/HIV policy for Malawi Prisons Services on Tuesday in Lilongwe.
Speaking with reporters, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Prisons and Chief Medical Officer for Malawi Prisons Dr Lawrence Chiwayura said that HIV and AIDS and TB remains a concern in the prisons because prevalences are higher than the general population as such it is proper to have a policy to manage the prisons.
He noted that as time is changing, there is a need to revise the old policy considering that the prison setting is different from the general public and the challenges which were there probably are no longer the same as the current ones as such they decided to revise the policy.
“Tuberculosis is a major cause of sickness and death in prisons, along with HIV. Directly or indirectly, these threats apply, not to prisoners, but also all who come into contact with prisons (visitors to the prisons and prison staff) and ultimately the community as a whole,” he explained.
He added that they will be looking forward to when the Prison Service Bill will be presented and debated in Parliament because the bill is currently at the cabinet level and they are just waiting for the next sitting.
TB and HIV Officer for monitoring and evaluation in the Ministry of Health Henry Kanyerere said that the policy is very important because it gives a guide of how as a country Malawi should move and manage HIV and TB in prisons in the country as such, they are expecting improvement in terms of management of inmates.
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