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New Vision
Uganda: More Prison Staff Die of HIV, Than Inmates - Byabashaija

<p>Petride Mudoola</p>

June 7, 2013

More prison staff die of HIV/AIDS than inmates the Commissioner General of Prisons Dr Johnson Byabashaija has said.

"We have a problem with HIVAIDS among the staff. The inmates are quick to find out their HIV status and therefore access treatment and counseling than the staff. There is still stigma among the staff of the Uganda Prison Service," Byabashaija stressed.

According to the 2011 zero status survey conducted by the Prison's Medical team, findings indicated that the HIV prevalence among the staff was 1% while that of the female inmates was 13%, as that of the male was 11%.

Byabashaija made this remarks while presiding over the 13th Prison's Council meeting held at Imperial Royale Hotel on Wednesday.

"More of our staff are dying quickly compared to the inmates they protect despite the available treatment and counseling services. It is a threat to our ability to offer prison services through protecting society by keeping away wrongdoers" Byabashaija observed.

The Prison's Publicist Frank Baine said Prison's department faces a shortage of 4000 staff. The average number of inmates is 37000 against that of the 6,500 staff yet International standards recommend the ratio of 1:3 however, Uganda's prisons ratio stands at is 1: 5.

According to the colonial prison standing orders, it was mandatory for the Officer in Charge of Prison to know which staff had gonorrhea purposely to prevent it from spreading; Byabashaija then proposed to the council that the same strategy be used to deal with HIV.

However, the Prison's legal Officer Natukunda Aliyo rejected the proposal saying that prisons must conform to the national provisions on disclosure as far as HIV is concerned.

The Prison's Chief directed Regional Prisons Commanders to meet the officers in Charge to ensure that they discuss the matter with their staff.