Deputy Controller of Prisons (DCOP), Mr. Kwame Akom Gyedu, has appealed to the Ministry of Health to endeavour to provide the Nsawam Prisons with a resident doctor and adequate health staff.
He said the prison is in need of essential drugs, reagents for its laboratory as well as an ambulance to convey sick prisoners to the hospitals.
DCOP Gyedu said this during the opening of a five- day medical outreach organised for the inmates of the Prison by the Ministry of Health under its National Mobile Clinic programme on Tuesday.
He noted that the Nsawam Prison is the most populated prison in the country housing an average of 3,700 inmates, made up of 727 remand prisoners, 111 on trial, 131 condemned prisoners, 88 life prisoners and 2,659 convicts.
“These 3,700 inmates have put a lot of pressure on the prison, which was meant to house only 717 prisoners,” he said.
According to him, the situation had put undue pressure on the health delivery system of the prison which is one of the key areas of the Prison Service’s mandate.
He said inmates of the Prison had been registered with the National Health Insurance Scheme, which enabled them to access healthcare at some mandated health facilities in the Eastern and Greater Accra Regions.
“Some of the inmates have also been trained as HIV and AIDS peer educators to help educate their colleagues on the disease as a number of them have undergone HIV and AIDS Testing and Counseling programmes organised for them by the Plan Parenthood Association,” he added.
He expressed appreciation to the Ministry for the programme as it would go a long way to assist in addressing the health needs of the inmates.
Ms. Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Health, said provision of good healthcare to the inmates is their constitutional right.
She pledged to ensure that the operating theatre at the infirmary would be rehabilitated to enable health officials to perform minor surgeries.
She pledged to facilitate the work on the furnishing of the prison with a resident doctor as requested for by the Deputy Controller of Prisons as well as provide the female prisoners with a gynaecologist.
Dr. Kofi Ablorh, Medical Director, Nsawam Government Hospital, called on the prison officers to endeavour to bring on time prisoners who fall sick as most of them report when their sicknesses are at the advanced stages.