The Medical Director and Superintendent at Nsawam Prisons Clinic, Deputy Superintendent of Prisons (DSP) Dr Lawrence Kofi Acheampong, says lack of balanced diet poses risk to prison inmates across the country, thereby making them susceptible to COVID-19.
He said the current amount of GH₵1.80 was not enough to provide balanced diets for inmates, stressing that “there is the need for the government to increase the daily GH₵1.80 feeding rate per inmate.
DSP Dr Acheampong made the observations here yesterday when he interacted with officers and inmates of the Kumasi Central Prison, to look at implications and management of COVID-19 in prisons.
The event was facilitated by Protector of Sentiments (PoS) Foundation, as part of its campaign to educate prison inmates on the dangers of COVID-19.
DSP Dr Acheampong noted that people with low immune system were vulnerable to the virus, and so “it has become very important to improve on the diet of inmates in order to build their immune system, to avoid placing them at a lower risk in terms of contracting COVID-19”.
He said, “COVID-19 should never be under-estimated in prison facilities in the country, considering how congested the facilities were”.
The Executive Director of PoS, Jonathan Osei-Owusu, said that, the welfare of prison officers were equally important as that of the inmates, and called for proper care and incentives, like tax waivers to be given to the prison officers.
He lauded personnel of Ghana Prisons Service for their professionalism and selflessness in making sure that COVID-19 safety protocol was adhered to in the various prisons across the country, which prevented spread of the virus.
Mr Osei-Owusu appealed to the government to help set up a well equipped and standardised infectious disease centres in the northern and southern sectors of the country, for prison inmates.
The Ashanti Regional Commander of Prisons, Deputy Director of Prisons (DDP), Samuel Owusu-Amponsah, encouraged officers to continue to show professionalism and selflessness in the discharge of their duties.
DDP Owusu-Amponsah urged personnel to observe COVID-19 safety protocol in and outside the prison facility.
The Ghanaian Times observed that safety protocol including sanitising and disinfecting gifts from visitors before releasing to inmates, officers not allowed to attend public functions, were being observed at the Kumasi Central Prison.
FROM FAUSTINA KWABEA OSEI, KUMASI