The government is collaborating with the Ghana Health Service and other stakeholders to improve health systems in Ghana's prisons, the Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has disclosed.
In line with this programme, over forty medical personnel have been seconded from the Ghana Health Service and posted to various prison establishments, while a national policy has also been launched to register all inmates onto the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Vice President Bawumia, who disclosed this at the Graduation Parade of Officer Cadet Course Intake 26 of the Ghana Prisons Service on Friday, said all prison infirmaries are to be accredited to receive national health insurance claims soon.
"The government is also working closely with the Service to improve the health system within our prisons. The Service has steadily increased the intake of medical personnel towards achieving the same purpose.
The Vice President said a national policy was launched in 2018 at Nsawam to register all inmates onto the National Health Insurance Scheme.
"I am happy to state that 80% of inmates at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison have been covered. Under this same policy, all prison infirmaries are to be accredited to receive National Health Insurance claims.
"Here also, the Nsawam Medium Security Prison, Ankaful Maximum Security Prison and Koforidua Local Prison have received the necessary accreditation to receive claims. The plan is to extend the accreditation to all prison establishments and the infirmaries."
Vice President Bawumia indicated that the government was aware of the accommodation and other logistical challenges facing the Prisons Service and would work assiduously to address them.
"We are taking steps to expand the accommodation facilities for officers. To this end, contractors have been requested back to site to complete blocks of flats at the Ankaful and Nsawam Prisons, and lately to the Roman Ridge Prisons Complex to complete two blocks of flats which have been abandoned for over a decade."
The government, Vice President Bawumia said, was mindful of the increasing challenges confronting the Ghana Prisons Service in the wake of changing trends in criminal activities in the country, therefore, the government was taking the necessary steps to resolve the challenges.
"I am aware of ongoing arrangements at the Ministry of the Interior to supply operational and utility vehicles for the Service. We have paid some attention to the vehicular needs of the Police, and it is time to turn our attention to the Prisons Service. It is gratifying to note that despite your numerous challenges you continue to uphold the rights and dignity of those placed under your care and supervision."
Vice President urged the 140 graduands, the last of three batches totaling 1000 of new entrants for the Ghana Prisons Service under a Government intervention to "make a firm decision to make this job the career of your dreams. Direct your youthful spirit and enthusiasm to make a positive impact on the lives of the inmates entrusted into your care."
The graduands are drawn from varied professional backgrounds ranging from Agriculture, Medicine, Nursing, Accounting, Procurement, Law and Psychology.