Liberia: Prison Facilities Benefit Essential Drugs For Improved Inmates’ Health
Monrovia – Serving Humanity for Empowerment and Development (SHED) and Rural Human Rights Activists Programme (RHRAP) in partnership with the Finn Church Aid (FCA) with support from the European Union Tuesday November 26, 2019 donated huge consignment of essential drugs to the Ministry of Justice to be used in three prison facilities in Lofa, Nimba and Bong Counties.
Speaking at the official turnover ceremony at the Ministry of Justice in Sinkor, the Director of Program for SHED, Emmanuel Sandi said the consignment of US$3,300.00 drugs contains antibiotic drugs, anti-malaria, scabies, 84 pieces of reusable sanitary pads for female inmates, among others.
Sandi said the next delivery will take place in 2020 with Margibi County as the focus.
“There were pertinent things we realized within the prisons and we decided to see how best we can respond to that. So, we look forward for the continue collaboration as I can recalled in the past we sat here and presented solar panel to ensure that we have good record system in place and we are still doing the same things forging ahead to make sure that we have the library functional and there are many things that we are working on along with the Bureau of Correction and Rehabilitation (BCR). We hope the drugs will be used for the intended purpose,” Sandi told the assembled participants. so
Also speaking, the Executive Director of Rural Human Rights Activist Programme (RHRAP), Lorma Baysah recounted that in the past, human rights organizations criticized government, but they are now helping government to address some of the issues in the country.
According to Baysah, the initiative is a partnership with the Ministry of Justice.
He said “before Charles Taylor’s regime, our advocacy was criticizing, but today’s date, we think that our advocacy is geared toward identifying the situation and helping government to recommend mechanisms that will be able to alleviate those situations.”
“We have worked three years in Bong, Lofa and Nimba counties and we closing out, and health issue is a tough one. This is a fundamental initiative, but previously, while the process was going on to obtain the drugs, we did provide some sanitation materials in those three prisons also and this is another initiative to complement what we did,” Baysah said.
At the same time, the Director of Prisons at the Ministry of Justice, Edwin Folley McGill commended the organizations saying the presentation of those drugs makes the day one of the best.
McGill recounted the numerous assistances from the organizations; ranging from sanitation to legal aid, provision of solar panels and computers among others.
“You people have been very valuable partners in restructuring our programs. We are happy that our facilities are going to be benefiting, particularly the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation (BCR). We are indebted to you for what you have done and we hope it continues for a long time and as partners, the BCR looks forward,” McGill added.
Meanwhile, Prison Health Coordinator at the Ministry of Health, Ernest W. Davis, Jr. said the World Health Organization (WHO) declared prison health as community health because whatever affects the prisoners affect the larger communities because inmates will return to their communities.
“The fact that we have drugs to take to three prisons is a jumpstart to the process of mitigating some of the challenges we facing in our prisons. The drugs should only be used for the inmates,” he urged.
SHED and RHRAP partnership with MoJ and MOH is geared toward reproductive health support to females in prison facilities, addressing medical conditions of prisoners through drugs supply and provision of sanitary materials, support to prison documentation and reform, pro bono legal representation, skills training for inmates in prison facilities and capacity building of law enforcement officers as part of the overall support to the population and the government of Liberia in Bong, Nimba, Lofa and Margibi counties.
The two organizations also support and collaborate with MoJ Human Rights Division and the Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform to develop shadow reports on various human rights mechanisms and also monitor and support government compliance with and implementation of various human rights instruments signed up to.
All of these supports are made possible through the European Union.