Government is collaborating with the Ghana Health Service and other stakeholders to improve health systems in Ghana's prisons, the Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has disclosed.
In line with this programme, over forty (40) 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 made the disclosure at the Graduation Parade of Officer Cadet Course Intake 26 of the Ghana Prisons Service on 26 on Friday, 18 October 2019, added that all prison infirmaries are to be accredited to receive national health insurance claims soon.
"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.
"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 extend the accreditation to all prison establishments and the infirmaries."
Vice President Bawumia indicated that Government is keenly aware of the accommodation and other logistical challenges facing the Prisons Service, and is working assiduously to address them.
"We are taking steps to expand 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."
"Government", he continued, "is mindful of the increasing challenges confronting the Ghana Prisons Service in the wake of changing trends in criminal activities in the country. The Government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is taking the necessary steps to resolve some of the challenges very soon.
"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 totalling 1000 of new entrants for the Ghana Prisons Service under a Government intervention, and drawn from varied professional backgrounds ranging from Agriculture, Medicine, Nursing, Accounting, Procurement, Law and Psychology, to "make a firm decision to make this job the career of your dreams. Direct your youthful spirit and enthusiasm to making a positive Impact on the lives of the inmates entrusted into your care."