Upgraded pharmacy brings relief to Mthatha offenders

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pretoria – Inmates incarcerated in Mthatha and surrounding areas will now receive their medication timeously, thanks to the upgraded pharmacy which opened on Thursday.

Justice and Correctional Services Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla opened an upgraded pharmacy at the Department of Correctional Services in Mthatha Management Area, in the Eastern Cape.

Funded by partners including Global Fund and Centre for Disease Control, Aurom Institute and TB/HIV Care Association, the upgrade will ensure that inmates incarcerated in Mthatha and surrounding areas receive their medication timeously, as officials will no longer have to travel almost 300 kilometres to East London for medication.

The pharmacy is the third in the Eastern Cape region, with others in East London and St. Albans.

The Free State and Northern Cape Region, Gauteng Region and Western Cape have four pharmacies. KwaZulu-Natal has two, whilst Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West Region have seven.

Deputy Minister Makwetla described the opening of a pharmacy as a testimony to the department’s commitment in improving inmates’ health and appropriately closing Human Rights Month.

“TB related cases are high in correctional facilities, due to the restricted movement of offenders. Offenders may also be prone to other diseases in our facilities, with hypertension and diabetes among the ten common diseases.

“Therefore, pharmacies are a necessity in correctional centres in order to strengthen healthcare services and ensure proper rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates,” Makwetla said.

The South African Constitution states that offenders are entitled to adequate primary healthcare within correctional centres.

The Deputy Minister also applauded partners for assisting the department in overcoming human resource and infrastructural challenges, adding that the department employs various full-time healthcare professionals including medical practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and assistant pharmacists.

Offenders Sibongile Mzondi and Bongani Mbongo, who are TB patients, described the upgrade as a turning point for the Management Area.

The two offenders said that this will bring major relief to offenders and will also save time for officials who had to drive to the East London pharmacy to fetch medication, including much-needed chronic medication.

“Now, we will not have to wait for our medication and our health will not be compromised because of the waiting period,” Mzondi and Mbongo said. – SAnews.gov.za

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