The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has asked that the government prioritizes the health care of prisoners in Ghana.
According to the Association, a tour to some of the prisons revealed the outbreak of infectious and skin diseases due to its overcrowded nature.
President of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr. Frank Ankobea told Citi News that something must be done urgently to assist the health needs of the inmates.
“It appears we’ve completely forgotten about the health of the prisoners because if a prison is supposed to hold 50 people and you allow it to hold over 300 people, there is going to be overcrowding. The inmates actually made us aware that, that is the situation and it is horrible and something should be done about it.”
“We saw some cases of skin diseases and some other infections caused by the overcrowding. We should have a stakeholders meeting and decide on how we are going to help out unfortunate brothers and sisters in jail,” he said.
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia had earlier indicated that the government is collaborating with the Ghana Health Service and other stakeholders to improve health systems in Ghana’s prisons.
In line with this programme, over forty (40) medical personnel were seconded from the Ghana Health Service and posted to various prison establishments, while a national policy was also launched to register all inmates onto the National Health Insurance Scheme.
CHRAJ Director calls for decongestion in prisons
A few months ago, the Eastern Regional Director of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Stephen Okpoti-Mensah advocated for non-custodial sentences to help to decongest the prisons.
After several visits to various prison cells in the country, he observed that the number of inmates in each cell at the prison was too many and creating congestion and further pleaded with the authorities to do something about it.
He also noted that conditions prevailing in prisons notably, congestion, low food rations, and inadequate bedding are not the best and it was important for alternative punishments to be considered so that too many offenders were not sent to the prisons.