CHRR asks inmates at Chikwawa Prison to exercise their health rightss

Chikwawa: Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has asked inmates at Chikwawa Prison inmates to rise up and exercise their right of access to medical assistance when need be.

Speaking during an open day the human rights organization held at the prison’s facility on Tuesday, the organization’s volunteer for the district, Innocent Panji said inmates, just like anybody else in the country, have the right to get medical help.

Panji told the inmates who patronized the Tuesday’s event that under the ‘Get Up, Speak Out’ (GUSO) Project the organization was implementing in the district, the youth are encouraged to stand up and fight for their rights.

We wanted to share that, we too, in prison have the right to speak where we feel we have been infringed and in this case, we need to have equal rights when accessing medical services.

The GUSO Project through the Sexual Reproductive Health Right Services (SRHR) intends to uplift the voice each one of you has in as far as accessing health related services is concerned, said Panji.

He added that a research that was previously jointly done by Chichiri Prison and College of Medicine revealed that there were more cases of Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs) in prisons.

So, not only that fact, we also have a lot going on in prison that requires medical assistance. We, therefore, need to rush for medical services so that we live happily and be able to positively contribute to the development of our families, communities and country when we have been released from prison, he added.

Mercy Kapingasa who represented Chikwawa District Hospital SRHR Coordinator, hailed Malawi Prison Service- Chikwawa Chapter for granting permission to inmates to access medical help at the health facility.

She, however, said besides the rights every person has, there was need to have responsibility to safeguard such rights.

At our facility, we have ART services, nutritional treatment, STI as well as skin diseases treatment services where we provide to all who require such services. It is our plea that you come whenever you notice some developments on you that require medical assistance and do not hesitate, said Kapingasa.

Chikwawa Prison Officer in Charge, Maxwell Kamowa commended CHRR for organizing the event, saying it was an eye opener to most inmates who were at times shy to disclose their health conditions.

Kamowa said such interactive sessions were key to opening up more things that would help the inmates realize their role.

He added that cases of homosexuality at the facility were a thing of the past and that they had formulated disciplinary procedures to curb the malpractice.

Guest of Honour at the event, Macneil Shire, who is Chikwawa District Youth Officer (DYO), said such forums ensured that the youth had information which would help them in decision making.

This comes in due to the rights and responsibilities we all have. It’s my plea that we use both in a right way to access medical help because there is a lot of work out there that awaits us all, said Shire.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA