Maula Prison In Covid-19 SOS
Maula Prison in Lilongwe has appealed for assistance from well-wishers to cater for 106 inmates that tested positive to Covid-19, as well as five members and staff and relations that have also been infected.
A visit to the facility has revealed that the inmates do not have masks, with the lone clinical officer of its isolation section Inspector Edward Nyirenda saying that with a population of more than 2 thousand, the prison needs as much assistance as can be found.
Last year, Maula Prison transferred to other prisons in the Central Region, female inmates to accommodate those that tested positive to Covid-19, and now the facility is holding 106 positive inmates from different prisons in the region.
Nyirenda says the facility needs enough assistance including disinfectants, masks, and sanitizers so that all the inmates are safe.
He said that so far, five officers are in isolation with some of their members of staff, signifying how unsafe inmates can be if there is inadequate or no materials.
“We have 106 Covid-19 positive inmates at our isolation section. Our facility holds prison and police cases across the Central Region. We are currently on mass testing to combat the pandemic, but we need adequate materials, masks, and sanitizers to contain it,” said Nyirenda.
He added, “The challenge is that as you have heard that we have 106 cases, they are all managed by only one person, me. Imagine only one health officer! Worse, there is no risk allowance.”
Executive Director of a local NGO which we found donating disinfectants Pamudzi Health Support Network Lynda Khembo-Nwosu concurred with Nyirenda that every day, the prison receives people that have been sentenced, hence the need to assist.
“We noted that every single day, people are convicted and committed to Maula Prison, sometimes remanded. These have the potential to spread the disease to the inmates who are safe here because they may not go out. And this is the reason we decided to bring these disinfectants, so that the whole place from the isolation section to the cells, are all disinfected, to keep the prisoners safe,” said Khembo-Nwosu.
According to Khembo-Nwosu, Pamudzi Health Support Network is making similar donations in other prisons like Mzinda and is on public sensitization on how to deal with the pandemic.
When we visited Maula Prison, we found that the inmates did not even have masks on, and had 106 Covid-19 Positive inmates, out of 7,146 active cases in the country.