By Daniel Chigundu
HUNDREDS of female prisoners at Chikurubi Maximum Prison are staring death in the face following a decision by Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals to discontinue treating prisoners until they are paid what they are owed.
Chikurubi Prison usually refers its sick inmates to Parirenyatwa Hospital and Mbuya Nehanda Maternity as it has no capacity and relevant resources to attend them at the prison.
However the financially strung prison has not been able to pay for the services prompting the hospital to take the drastic decision.Addressing a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Woman Affairs, Gender and Community Development, director of health services at Chikurubi, Evidence Gaka said they have since received a letter from Parirenyatwa informing them that it has cut ties with the prison.
“We owe Parirenyatwa Group of Hospital about US$600 000 as at February 28, 2017 and they have written a letter informing us that with effect from April 1, 2017 they will not be attending to our patients until we settle what we owe them,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion Sister-in-Charge Dudzirai Dziva said so dire is the situation at the prison’s clinic that it has nothing in stock to attend to patients in times of emergencies. There is no ambulance here; we don’t have delivery beds for pregnant inmates even though we have three midwives at the prison. We do not have emergence drugs for such sicknesses as Asthma and hypertensions and there is no glucometre for diabetic patients. There are no refrigerators to store vaccines and the only thing we have in the clinic are painkillers,” she said.
Chikurubi female prison which has a holding capacity of about 287 inmates and currently has only 145 is depending on donors and well-wishers for most of its suppliers.
One of the prisoners, Silvia Savanhu told the Parliamentary Committee that the prison mainly focuses on HIV positive inmates at the expense of those who have other diseases.
“I am diabetic and have hypertension, but I don’t get anything from the prison, all my medication comes from my relatives at home, all we have seen being given are ARVs to HIV patients.
“Imagine if I had no relatives who bring me the medication what would happen, but here we have other inmates who do not have visitors and have never been visited, so the prison should not prioritise HIV only they should consider other diseases as well,” she said.
Meanwhile, convicted MDC-T activist Yvonne Musarurwa has appealed to government well-wishers to help the female prisoners with detergents, sanitizers, brushes, brooms and buckets for toilet hygiene.