Reps task FG on healthcare for inmates

2017.05.30

WORRIED by the poor health condition of inmates in the country, the House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to make available quality healthcare services for their benefit.

The resolution was sequel to a motion titled “Need to Address the Deplorable State of Health Care Service Provision in Nigerian Prisons”, sponsored by the member representing, Ehime Mbano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo Federal Constituency of Imo State, Rep. Chike John Okafor.

Okafor, who is the House Committee Chairman on Healthcare Services, in the motion unanimously adopted, stated that non-availability of drugs and inadequate medical personnel had resulted in avoidable deaths of inmates.

He said as a result of the comatose nature of clinics in prisons, inmates are dependent on donations and outreach programmes from churches, mosques and voluntary organisations to access healthcare.

Okafor said inmates at times, purchased drugs that were fake, substandard or adulterated.

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He said, “This has resulted in the frequent outbreak of epidemics in the prisons and the high death rate recorded among inmates. It is evident in the over 32 inmate deaths recorded in 2016 at a Lagos prison owing to unavailability of quality medical care.

“The condition of our prisoners could be said to be near death sentence, as many have died because of improper healthcare services.

“The deplorable health situation in the prisons is a major public health hazard which without intervention, could result in more deaths and would amount to unsolicited death sentence to prison inmates.

“Inmates are still entitled to their fundamental human right to quality healthcare services even while in prison as envisaged by section 12 (1) of the Prisons Act, 2004.”

The House, in its resolution urged the Federal Ministries of Interior, and Health as well as Comptroller General of Prisons to intervene by providing quality healthcare services for prison inmates.

The House also mandated its Committees on Interior, and Healthcare Services to embark on oversight at various prisons with a view to finding a permanent solution to the problem of poor healthcare services at Nigerian prisons and report back within three weeks.