Minister of Home Affairs Alfreda Kansembe announced at an international workshop in Chisamba, Zambia, that the Zambian government would commit the resources required to eradicate TB among its prisoners and corrections staff. The European Union and other stakeholders sponsored and organized the workshop to address challenges facing the Zambian prison system.
According to the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), TB prevalence among Lusaka Central Prison inmates was four times higher than in Lusaka’s general population. CIDRZ based this estimate on TB screening of 7,935 Lusaka Central Prison officers and inmates during the Lusaka Central Prison and Kabwe Mukobeko Group of Prison’s TB research project.
Kansembe stated that Zambian government efforts to eliminate TB among prisoners and staff would include building more prisons to relieve overcrowding, adding prison clinics and hospitals, and providing technical support to strengthen management structures and decision-making frameworks. Zambia’s entire prison system had only 17 prison clinics, three health posts, and one hospital at the time of the workshop.
Commissioner of Prisons Percy Chato urged the Zambian government to provide medical services in the prisons and surrounding communities that would ensure humane treatment and successful reintegration of prisoners into the general population.