Chikurubi Female Prison is sitting on a health time bomb after Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals threatened to withdraw services over a $600 000 debt owed by the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS).
One of the resident doctors, Evidence Gaka told members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs during a tour of the facility yesterday that Parirenyatwa Hospital was owed $567 000 by ZPCS and might not be able to attend to sick inmates as from next month.
“This is one of the health facilities that we owe. We also owe a number of private hospitals,” Gaka said.Chikurubi Female Prison currently houses 287 inmates and 13 children.
Inmates who got a chance to speak to the committee expressed concern at the deplorable conditions of prison cells, while others said they could not access medication for conditions such as diabetes, as there was a deliberate focus on HIV and Aids.
“We do not have meat, sugar ran out in December and beans also ran out last week. Toilets sanitisers and buckets are scarce. Sinks are not working and there is no running water and pipes are down,” one of the inmates said.
Chikurubi Female Prison officer-in-charge, Mary Misihairambwi said: “We need about 10 cot beds for children. The ones that we have are not enough and are old. We have 13 children who are serving with their mothers. We try to give them a special diet, but because of the challenges we do what we can afford.”