The Ghana Prisons Service has called on civil society groups to assist with the health needs of Ghanaian prisoners especially the females who are considered most vulnerable in cases of disease outbreaks.
This call comes in the wake of high hospital bills incurred by the service and sometimes the refusal of some health facilities to attend to inmates’ health needs despite the operations of the health insurance scheme.
The Acting Officer In Charge of the Nsawam Female Prison, CSP Margret Dangah made this call at a health screening exercise organized for inmates of Nsawam Female Prisons by Divine Group International.
She observed that organizers of such health screening exercises are helping reduce the hospital bills of the service as well as helping prevent the spread of contagious diseases through early detection should there be any cases adding that officers are also at risk.
CSP Dangah appealed to health organizations to foremost consider female prisoners in their philanthropic efforts since they are more complex in relation to their health needs.
Ebenezer Kofi Adu Lartey, the founder of Divine Group International explained that the exercise is the organization’s corporate responsibility aimed at providing service to humanity and also imbibing the feeling of love and care for the neglected in society.
He bemoaned the negative perception Ghanaians have for prisoners advising that prison is not the end of life citing several prominent personalities in life who were once prisoners including Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela of South Africa among others.
He added that if prison was not the end of life there was the need for all interest groups to ensure prisoners were healthy during and after serving their sentences so as to enable them contribute their quota to national development like Nkrumah and Mandela.
Mr Adu Lartey was full of praise for the Prisons Service for the professional manner in which the health needs of inmates was considered above all else in their handling of inmates, encouraging the service to keep it up since their efforts are been appreciated by society.
A team member of the group and a gender activist, Rosina Teye Akourkor educated inmates on their health and personal hygiene. She also touched on basic human rights in relation to the five family laws in Ghana. The laws were on Marriage, Divorce, Interstate Succession, the Will Act and Gender Based Violence Act.
Rosina revealed that though in prison, some of the women were still very influential members of their families and therefore needs to be empowered to effect the necessary changes in culturally engrained practices that are detrimental to the development of women.
She observed that when women are empowered economically, they champion their own course and can break the vicious cycle of poverty when they are out of prison and hence the team’s determination to create awareness on their fundamental human rights.
The Divine Group International team screened inmates for hepatitis B, Breast Cancer, Malaria, Blood Pressure and general fitness and also donated assorted medicines.