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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Cameroon - Prison: The State Of Cameroon Prisons, Inmates Exposed To Diseases Of All Kinds


237online| Exposed to diseases of all kinds, due to the poor conditions of detention, many poor prisoners in Cameroon prisons are dying for lack of care.

NGOs help to mitigate the damage, sometimes with success.
Emmanuel Ngong almost died in his prison cell of Mbanga, sixty kilometers from Douala. He was not transported to a health center until a few hours before his death. "  He was sick for a long time and abandoned by his family. We managed with our modest means to help him. Alas, "Jean Jacques Kwedi, head of the Disciplinary Office at Mbanga Prison, is sorry.

Here, patients receive first aid in a cell without a bed where they sleep on bare ground. They are transported to the hospital only on the initiative of their parents or on the verge of death, for lack of means. Without an infirmary, the penitentiary employs only one nurse.
The promiscuity that prevails (300 people for 150 places) promotes the development of various diseases. About 80 people are piling in tiny cells that ventilate two ventilation holes. The pit of the only WC at their disposal overflows into the tiny courtyard of the prison and carries nauseating odors. " We regularly use this stick to push excrement out of the prison. Too bad for local residents, "says a prisoner. " These are the worst conditions that make people sick here,  " he adds. "  You have to be lucky to go back to prison and come out in good health even when you have the support of your parents, "says Jean-Jacques Kwedi.

Generalized phenomenon

Prisoners in Douala prison, one of the worst-off penitentiaries in the country, are not spared. In Mbanga, as here, where there is an infirmary, only essential drugs are available which are, moreover, insufficient in the face of the high demand, the conditions of detention favoring all kinds of diseases (tuberculosis, malaria, diphtheria, cholera, diseases skin,
intermittent fevers ). Each prison receives a financial endowment for the care of the prisoners.

That of Douala cash 4,000,000 FCFA for nearly 3,000 residents (just over 1,300 per prisoner) against 600,000 FCFA for Mbanga prison (2,000 per prisoner). Too insufficient.

The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, adopted in Geneva in 1955, recommend sanitary facilities to enable the prisoner to meet his natural needs at the appropriate time, in a clean and decent manner. "  Bathing and showering facilities must be sufficient to ensure that every prisoner can be put in and required to use them ... " According to the same document, each penitentiary establishment must have a qualified doctor. " For patients in need of special care, provision should be made for transfer to specialized penitentiary institutions or to civilian hospitals  ".


The boost of  NGO

Mortality is however decreasing in some local prisons and especially in Douala, thanks to the support of the GTZ, a German organization of international cooperation. Of 99 deaths in 2005, the Douala prison registered only 29 in 2010. "  More and more often, it happens a month or two, without one recorded a death" , welcomes the Dr. Amougou Ello, doctor of Douala prison. "Until 2004, there was a lot of disorder, and so many deaths due to AIDS and tuberculosis. The prevalence rate of TB in this prison was thirty-five times higher than that of the global population, "he adds.

In Douala, as in many other prisons in the country, the support of GTZ allows more and more to examine any new prisoner. " We instituted a systematic visit for all the defendants as soon as they are imprisoned. The new detainee has no later than 48 hours to be examined by the medical profession.

This allows us to detect, as soon as they enter, patients with tuberculosis and those with HIV. The other goal is to detect new inmates with a history of chronic pathology such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, etc. ", Says Dr. Amougou Ello. A practice that meets the recommendations of the minimum rules for the treatment of detainees.