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The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has bemoaned the general health situation in the prisons in the country and has tasked the Government of Ghana to uphold and fulfill its duty of care to the prisoners.

The GMA , in a communique released on Sunday November 10, 2019, at the 61st annual general conference in Tamale, Northern Region, the association posit that data from the Ghana Prisons Service shows that 67% of the country’s prisons are extremely overcrowded with number of inmates in excess of 150-300% of their holding capacity.

They cited the Tamale Central Prisons which was originally built to hold about 60 prisoners as an example of holding over 300 inmates which is in 180% excess of its original capacity.

The Association expressed worry over the public health threat it poses and reminded government of its general duty of care.

The Public Health threat emanating from our prisons include overcrowding, high sexual behaviors, drug abuse, poor diet and hygiene, infections and substance abuse. It is worth noting that the health status of prisons to a large extent impact on the health of the entire nation.

The fundamental human rights of every single person in the country includes the right to health without any discrimination. However the health problems of prisoners are largely neglected.

The State (Government) has a duty of care to prisoners and same must be met at all times. Government must ensure that there is a holistic and comprehensive healthcare delivery for prisoners at all levels, better resourcing of the Ghana Prison Servive and improvement of infrastructure in our various prisons.” The Association stated.

They further called for a national conference on the health of prisoners and other vulnerable groups with the involvement of key stakeholders (the central Government, MMDAs, other Public sector institution, Quasi- Governmental institutions, the Private Sector, Civil Society Organizations and Political Parties) as part of measures to offer solution to the problem.

The communique was signed by the Association’s President, Dr. Frank Ankobeah and its General Secretary, Dr. Justice Yankson.

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