11 May 2016 - To improve the quality of healthcare services available in prisons, the Namibian Correctional Service (NCS) with support from UNODC, today launched their Health Policy in Windhoek.
Present at the launch event were, Daniel Kashikola, Deputy Minister of Safety and Security; William Billy Mwaningange, Deputy Minister of Defence; and, Lidwina Shapwa, Deputy Minister of Justice. Joining them were Raphael Tuhafeni Hamunyela, Commissioner General for the Namibian Correctional Service (NCS); Anita Kiki Gbeho, United Nations Resident Coordinator and Jason Eligh, UNODC Regional Programme Coordinator.
In highlighting the rights of prisoners to a standard of healthcare equivalent to what is available in the wider community, Deputy Minister Kashikola, noted that prisons are high risk spaces of health vulnerability for both inmates and staff.
Eventually, most prisoners will be released, and providing them health services in line with what is available outside prisons will not only benefit them, but also the population more widely.
In his remarks, NCS Commissioner General Hamunyela reaffirmed the fact that health in prisons and the community is interlinked. Diseases present in the general communities find their way in to prison facilities and vice versa, he said.
Following the launch, UNODC Regional Programme Coordinator, Mr Jason Eligh, handed over two ambulances fitted with medical equipment to the Namibian Correctional Services (NCS). In addition, UNODC provided medical examination kits to each of the NCS prison-based physicians, and is supporting the NCS to construct a model prison healthcare clinic.
This support to NCS is part of the UNODC HIV and AIDS Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support in Prison Settings in Sub-Saharan Africa project currently implemented in 10 countries, with funding from Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
Sub-Saharan Africa is at the epicentre of the global HIV epidemic. Although prisons in this region are high risk health environments, targeted interventions to address the HIV prevention, treatment care and support needs of staff and prisoners are often lacking.
Photo: UNODC Namibia