NGO aid brings down prison deaths

prisoner_sickHARARE The number of inmates dying in prison has declined significantly since non-governmental organisations (NGOs) began supplying food and medicines to Zimbabwes jails, sources said last week. (Pictured: A harrowing image of starving prisoners in one of Zimbabwes jails before NGOs moved in with food and medical aid)

The sources, who are medical officers at some of the countrys biggest prisons, said the number of inmates dying had dropped to about two per month compared to about three deaths that were being recorded per day at some prisons before NGOs moved in with aid.

We must give credit to the donor community especially Red Cross for the provision of nutritious food to our prisons, because this has reduced the deaths of inmates in a big way, said one of the prison officials, who declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media about the matter.

He added: We are now recording at less than two deaths per month at Chikurubi and Harare Central prisons since the government opened doors for donors to provide what they have to prisoners.

Increased medical drugs coming from the generous western donors especially German doctors who visited our prisons two months ago have also helped reduce prison deaths. These drugs are not only benefiting inmates but also officers dependants.

Zimbabwes jails had become virtual death houses with hundreds of inmates reportedly dying in the jails because of diseases and an acute shortage of food.

Amnesty International secretary general Irene Khan, who visited Zimbabwe last June, condemned conditions in the countrys jails, describing them as deplorable and unfit for humans to live in. Khan also disclosed that nearly 1 000 prisoners had died in the over crowded prisons in the first six months of this year.

Post published in: Politics

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