OurHealth

A pharmacy to benefit inmates

GBV convict talks trauma, anger,
Written by Zizo Zikali

Thousands of inmates at 12 Correctional Services facilities are now receiving their medication on time thanks to the opening of a new pharmacy set up at the Umthatha Correctional Centre in the Eastern Cape.

Inmates at Umthatha Correctional Centre will benefit from the newly opened pharmacy.(File Photo)

The pharmacy is set to ensure that health officials in the Mthatha Management Area can now adequately provide medication for more than 4000 inmates in prisons in Mthatha and surrounding areas such as Bizana, Lusikisiki, Flagstaff, Mqanduli, Ngqeleni, Mount Ayliff, Mount Fletcher, Elliotdale, Tabankulu and Mount Frere.  

The new pharmacy adheres to all the requirements of the South African Pharmacy Council, as well as Good Pharmacy Practice. It is the result of a public-private partnership between the Department of Correctional Services and TB/HIV Care. The Correctional Services-based pharmacy aims to improve service delivery, enhance access to chronic medicines, raise the quality of care for offenders and optimize scarce resources.

In line with the constitution

I had to wait for more than two weeks for my treatment to arrive, and there are inmates who have lost their lives due to this.

Eric Nweba, who is the area commissioner for Umthatha, says “In line with our constitutional mandate of ensuring safe custodial services consistent with human rights and dignity, the project forms part of our overall efforts to rehabilitate inmates, ensure their successful reintegration into society and reduce recidivism.  We want to fast track the availability of medicines. Nurses can now collect medicine and get to work on time rather than having to go and collect it in East London like they did before. Inmates now also get their prescribed medicine on time.”

Sibongile Mzondi, an inmate at Umthatha Correctional Centre, says regardless of the challenges he faces as a prisoner with a chronic illness he is excited about this project.

“It has been very difficult for me before the pharmacy opened. I had to wait for more than two weeks for my treatment to arrive, and there are inmates who have lost their lives due to this. We are privileged to have this new pharmacy. I believe our lives will be saved,” Mzondi said.

In Mthatha and the surrounding areas there are more than 500 inmates living with HIV/AIDS, over 100 offenders with epilepsy, 160 have high blood pressure, 70 have psychiatric disorders, 47 have tuberculosis and 20 are diabetic Nweba said.

About the author

Zizo Zikali

Zizo Zikali is our Eastern Cape based citizen journalist who also heads news at Inkonjane Community Radio in Flagstaff. Under her leadership, the news team is receiving recognition from local government and is the defending champion for Alfred Nzo District Municipality Annual Award for Best Innovative Current Affairs Programme. Zizo has over six years experience in community media and worked for organisations such as Voice of Tembisa FM from 2011-2014 and Inkonjane community Radio since 2014. Her educational qualifications include an Advanced Radio Certificate from University of the Witwatersrand obtained in 2016 and a Human Resources Management qualification from the Durban University of Technology obtained in 2008.