Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has bemoaned the high health risk in the Zambian correctional facilities, due to overcrowding.
Dr. Matibini noted that as Zambia is currently ranked as having the highest HIV prevalence rate worldwide, 27.4 percent of in-mates in the country’s correctional facilities are testing positive for HIV against the national prevalence rate.
Dr.Matibini added that it was saddening to note that the limitations experienced in most correctional facilities pose a serious challenge to disease control efforts in prison settings.
The Speaker made his sentiments in a speech read on his behalf by Chairperson of the committee on National Security and foreign Affairs Dr Martin Malama during the official opening of a two day sensitisation meeting held at the 360 conventional center in Lusaka.
The meeting’s objective was on Sexual Reproductive health and rights for selected parliamentary committees in the SADC region.
The four year project on sexual reproductive health in correctional facilities is aimed at ensuring that health issues are addressed in correctional facilities in the SADC region with the help of members of parliament who are representative of their various constituencies.
And Dr Matibini further noted that inmates are generally a link for the transmission of certain infectious diseases because of the poor sanitary conditions among other health hazards.
He has since called on various stakeholders to ensure that advocacy for a better environment in correctional facilities is upheld.
And Vice Chairperson of the National Working Group Johanes Mtonga expressed hope that challenges faced by inmates in various correctional facilities, especially the female prisons, will be addressed.
The group of Parliamentarians is tomorrow expected to visit the female maximum prison in Kabwe, on a familiarization tour in the quest to improve conditions in the correctional facilities.