21 February 2017

Kenya: Inmates in Coast Prisons Now Being Taken to Private Hospitals

Inmates from prisons in the Coast region are now being referred to private hospitals once they fall sick as they cannot get medical services in public hospitals due to the ongoing doctor's strike which has entered its 78th day.

This has forced authorities to incur more costs according to Shimo la Tewa Prison Commander Samuel Nyutu.

"It is affecting us in terms of costs but we are coping with the situation.

"However, we have our own uniformed prison officers who are clinical officers, nurses, pharmacists and lab technicians with our own dispensary inside the prisons and a public health centre where members of the public are treated," he said.

Speaking to the Nation by phone, Mr Nyutu said prisoners from Shimo La Tewa Prison were previously being referred to the Coast General Provincial Hospital.

However, due to the strike, the inmates have now to be taken to mission hospitals.

"In this case, we take ours to Jocham Hospital and the government pays for the services at the private hospitals," he added.

TORTURE CLAIMS AT MANYANI

At the same time, a source at the Manyani Maximum Prison in Voi within Taita Taveta County revealed that prisoners are complaining of torture and harassment.

"The inmates have been rioting, protesting over their welfare, bad food and harassment by the prison authorities.

"Every morning at 6am, they are being stripped naked then beaten by the prison officers. [They also complain of] poor bedding and living conditions," said the source who sought to remain anonymous.

However, Deputy Commissioner of Prisons Joseph Mutevesi refuted the claims.

"We have had new prisoners who were transferred to the facility. It seems they don't want to stay [in] the prison so they have been making calls and spreading (false) allegations. We will conduct our internal security checks and confiscate the phones," he added.

He said the prisoners smuggled phones into their cells, which is illegal.

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