Zambian prisoners denied ARVs

Filed under: Editor's Choice |

Lusaka – Zambia’s High Court on Monday heard that HIV-positive prisoners were being denied access to life-prolonging drugs and a balanced diet, on the opening day of a landmark human rights case.

Convicted prisoner George Mwanza has accused the authorities of violating his human rights and those of other HIV-positive inmates by failing to provide them with adequate care.

“I have been prevented from accessing the anti-retroviral drugs and therapy from the clinic,” Mwanza – who is awaiting trial for statutory rape – told a courtroom packed with HIV/Aids activists clad in white T-shirts.

Priti Patel of the non-governmental Southern Africa Litigation Centre said the case was “the first of its kind” and could have massive repercussions given the high levels of HIV in Zambia’s jails.

Mwnaza and his co-plaintiff claim that because of prison staff shortages the government is unable to provide enough wardens to escort them to the clinics and that HIV-positive prisoners received a standard diet of bean and nshima, a thick corn meal porridge that is a staple in Zambia.

HIV sufferers are advised to eat a varied diet of eggs, vegetables, meat, fruits and vegetables.

“The last time I had an egg was in June,” Mwanza said.

Mwanza also argued that overcrowding only worsens their condition, exposing them to opportunistic infections.

He has suffered continuous diarrhoea and has contracted tuberculosis twice while being held with 91 other inmates in a cell meant for 20, he told the court.

The capacity of Lusaka Central Prison, where Mwanza is incarcerated, is 200 but it houses more than 1 600 inmates.

At the end of Monday’s hearing the judge adjourned proceedings until 11 March.

- SAPA

Comments Closed

19 Responses to Zambian prisoners denied ARVs

  1. They hve a right 2life alright bt honestly-this sick rapist hs destroyed lives out here.u want pipo 2 feel for u and wen u come out u continue raping our sisters and dotaz!u re payng for ur crime-u its even murder.rot in there.

    Gynachologist - December 5, 2012
    04:48

  2. Auze!

    Inde Master Chitakataka - December 4, 2012
    23:22

  3. Its an appaling situation especially for the wrongly accused, those are inhuman death camps.

    PG monk - December 4, 2012
    21:06

  4. Those with HIV doesn’t mark the end of their Lives,they can live more & more years because God is soverein ova all,pervading all infact they can be cured if they have faith & believe in God,no one cures only God.AMEN

    caleb mhlanga - December 4, 2012
    18:00

  5. Prison..the world of “inde bwana mukubwa”. The minute you walk through those walls, know matter who you are ,the world as you know it ceases to exist.
    Majority of people languishing in zambian prisons are wrongly accused, and stay remanded,for months, even years.
    Prisons in zambia are not overcrowded by prisoners but remandees awaiting trial.

    Michael bupe - December 4, 2012
    15:26

  6. This is very sad, what has happened to the prisons??? In the past prisoners used to grow a lot of vegetables, actually we used to buy vegetables from the prisons. But now they can’t even feed themselves. What is wrong with Zambia everything is falling apart.

    magesi - December 4, 2012
    14:32

  7. let the prezido think about prisons not everytime side police.

    germs - December 4, 2012
    13:26

  8. speechless

    speechless - December 4, 2012
    13:21

  9. ZAMBIAN PRISONS ARE DEATH TRAPS.A CELL MEANT FOR 20 PRISONERS IS ACCOMODATING 91 SOME ARE HIV/AIDS INFECTED,HOMOSEXTUALITY IS COMMON SINCE THEY SLEEP TIGHTLY BODY TO BODY.
    MY SUGGESTION.CLOSE LUSAKA PRISON AND RELOCATE PRISONERS ON A LARGE OPEN PRISON FARM.DEMOLISH THE LUSAKA PRISON AND SET UP A SHOPPING MALL.I HAVE NEVER HELD IN THE BUDGET SPEECH CONTRUCTION OF NEW ULTRA MODERN PRISONS THAT CAN ACCOMODATE 20,000 INMATES.THIS ONLY HAPPENS INTHE USA.

    NTAZANA - December 4, 2012
    13:18

  10. we are not disputing the fact that they also have a right to life but asking for a balanced diet as a prisoner in a county like zambia is like…like….expecting too much to say the least

    tunku - December 4, 2012
    13:18

  11. They are the same idiots who are killing and terarising pipo when they come out beta they die there so we can live in peace

    BOKO HARAM - December 4, 2012
    13:09

  12. why are they doing this. God have mercy

    roskiw - December 4, 2012
    12:50

  13. A failed state under Captain of the ship, Ukwa!

    Fringstone - December 4, 2012
    11:59

  14. This is very inhuman,if Zambia is preaching prevention of HIV/Aids and access to Anti-ritroviral drugs to all, why deny these inmates!!!!! Its really inhuman and the human rights group should seriously take up this case. These inmates are human beings despite the crimes they have committed,the should serve their sentence and not be denied access to health.

    aliyah - December 4, 2012
    08:59

    • So this guy rapes someone and possibly infects her with HIV/AIDS and wants us to have a soft touch towards him? You have ruined someone else’s life who just like you has rights including the right to life, so in my book bwana you can’t play the Human Rights card. PS. Prison is not meant to be a 5 star hotel so live with it!

      Jackson - December 4, 2012
      12:58

  15. Let the PF governement build more prisons, Our Prisons should not be left like this, Dr. Guy Scot went to Mukobeko but what has been done so far? The President may pardon some inmates but thats not the ultimate solution – let one of these politicians go there and serve! its not fair and right. We can do better as a country 48 yrs down the line and after independence! come on PF, build new prisons at least in each province, atleast to help reduce overcrowding and reduce on diseases in prisons,
    (Community work for pety offences like stealing a chicken is ideal – Hospitals, police stations, streets etc can be cleaned by pety offenders instead of locking up pipo for drinking and fighting)

    Gerald Daka - December 4, 2012
    08:36

  16. They need equal support regardless of their situation.

    Doreen - December 4, 2012
    08:28

  17. They have right to life. Please they are human beings and they will never sees to be give them ARVs

    København, Denmark - December 4, 2012
    07:41

  18. We are not a serious society.

    Chibesa - December 4, 2012
    07:36