The Zambia Prison service can contain any disease outbreaks in prisons, including the feared Ebola which may be transmitted by prohibited immigrants, says Prisons Public Relations officer Doreen Ngoma.
She said in spite of massive congestions in the nation’s prisons, all inmates admitted to prison were screened for communicable diseases and if found unhealthy, they were quarantined and treated using the medical services directorate and the ministry of health facilities.
Ms. Ngoma however said the few circumstances in which inmates had been admitted without screening had been due to inadequate manpower but added that few more health workers had been employed.
“There might have been some rare circumstances that some inmates are not screened but it is a policy that we screen all inmates upon admission. If you notice, all prisons have a health facility either inside or outside the prison but by and large we depend on the Ministry of Health,” she said.
On Ebola and Prohibited immigrants (PIs), Ms. Ngoma said her institution recognized that the health fear was there.
She however said the prison service would handle the Ebola outbreaks as it had done to dysentery.
Ms Ngoma said standard health measures would have to be employed to combat the spread of the disease including the screening of people visiting PIs.
She also admitted that Zambian prisons were congested with 18,228 against the room capacity of 3,150 inmates.
Ms Ngoma said although the prison service was trying its level best, congestion posed a challenge to the institution