With a total population of nearly 1000 inmates, Gulu Prison Health Centre III is one of the busiest treatment points in the district.
The prison authority says that the lack of these facilities makes it very difficult to manage cases among inmates.
The District Prison Commander Ms Margaret Orik Obonyo said that district leaders should do more to rescue the situation; otherwise it is the prison warders that continue to bear the brunt of this deficit.
“We have no drugs for mental illness, always we struggle at night when we are stuck and cannot take them to hospital,” Orik said “Very difficult and a burden to guards indeed.”
Obonyo made the statement on Friday at Gulu main prison whilst receiving an assortment of non food items and relief donated to inmates by Gulu NGO Forum and district leaders.
She said that Prison authorities are very concerned that Asthma, Epilepsy and mental illness are not receiving adequate attention from the authorities, yet with adequate medication, they can be treated or controlled.
“Through your leadership, please mobilize the drugs and help us,” she added.
She could not readily state the numbers of inmates suffering from mental illness but a warden who asked not to be named said they were over 10 in numbers.
There are also 7 cases of Tuberculosis patients trapped in a ten bed isolation ward in the cell without blankets and bed sheets.
There are also over 100 inmates inclusive of the prison staff who are on ARV drugs, Prison authorities said they were equally disturbed by the lack of proper diet for the effectiveness of the medicine.
There are 650 male inmates and over 300 at the female wing in Gulu Prison.
Obonyo urged the district leaders to mobilize for the drugs and include them as projects in the NAADS, PRDP and NUSAF programs so as to improve prisoner’s welfare.
The prison authority further says that it also lacks adequate land from which it can feed its prisoners. It uses a small patch in the prison compound to grow sukuma wiki, egg plants and onions to supplement prisoners’ diet.
‘We try to link them with their relatives to get better food especially for the sick but others travel far to help their relatives” Obonyo added.
She also urged for facilities to aid dance and drama which are avenues through which stress can be relieve by both inmates and prison staff.
Meanwhile Mr Mr Brian Ategonza, representing the inmates said that more needs to be done to speed up cases within the justice system.
“Cases delay a lot and we request leaders to talk about court session in order to decongest this place,” Ategonza said “We are committed to prison not for punishment but as punishment.”
He said that inmates recognized imprisonment as a place for reform where they could gain from primary, adult literacy and vocational skills to help transform their lives.
“When released to go home, accept and reintegrate us into society,” he said.
The NGO Forum and district leaders were at the Prison to learn about how access to justice, agriculture, and the fight against corruption were being managed at the prison.
They delivered assortments of non food reliefs to inmates including laundry utensils and soaps, footballs, sanitary pads for women inmates, and 2 tins of wall paints.
The district speaker Peter Douglas Okello pledged to table the prisoners’ concerns needs to the council for consideration.
He said that the division should allocate money to the prison to enhance projects such as poultry and piggery for income.
“Give skills training to inmates so that when they get out they can be agent of societal transformation,” Okao said.
Marc Abwola the Coordinator of NGO Forum said that the motive of the forum was to engage leaders on service delivery and be held accountable.
“We expect this is the beginning to hold leaders accountable in terms of decision making and how people feel or benefit from services,” Bwola said.
He added that in making accountability achievable, leaders must be transparent and hold dialogue to get peoples demands across. By A Web design Company
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