KAMPALA - The Ugandan Commissioner General of Prisons Johnson Byabashaija has commended Rwanda’s prison standards.
He made the commendation while officiating at the advocacy and policy dialogue on the capacity of prisons health services in dealing with the HIV/TB epidemics.
The advocacy and policy dialogue was convened to address issues concerning the status of prison health services in general and HIV/TB collaborative activities in particular.
It is reported that prisons have the potential to be “incubators of diseases like multi-Drug resistant TB (MDRTB)” and that such diseases are easily transmissible to prison staff and their families as well as the rest of the community outside of the prisons.
“I was impressed by the good prison facilities in Rwanda and I liked the way prisoners participate in community services,” said Byabashaija in an interview with The New Times.
The meeting was held under the theme: “Good prison health is good public health” highlighting the fact that prisoners always have to go back to their respective societies after serving their sentences.
It mainly focused on sensitizing policy- makers and decision-makers on the burden of HIV/TB on the prison community.
“Rwanda has more prisoners than us but it is amazing their prison services are up to standards…this should serve as a lesson to Uganda,” said Byabashaija.
During the meeting it was noted that the HIV prevalence in Ugandan prisons stands at 11 percent among males and 13 percent among females, almost double the national average rate of about 6.4 per cent.
Byabashaija further noted that although Uganda has made significant progress in building a viable Prisons Health Service, the coverage is still low.
He said within 222 prison units countrywide, these services are accessible in only 44.