‘Congestion in country’s prisons fuelling spread of tuberculosis’

14Apr 2021
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
‘Congestion in country’s prisons fuelling spread of tuberculosis’

​​​​​​​THE Parliamentary Committee on HIV/ AIDS has disclosed that congestion in the country’s cells and prisons is fuelling the spread of tuberculosis (TB) infections.  

Fatuma Toufiq.

According to the committee, the situation calls for an immediate and strong strategy by the government so as to address it and rescue heaths of prisoners and detainees in the country.

Reading the committee’s comments yesterday in the House, chairman Fatuma Toufiq said that the government should also strengthen testing and medical services so as to fight TB in prisons.

He was presenting on the parliamentary committee yesterday in the House on the budget estimates for the Prime Minister’s office for the 2021/22 fiscal year.

“The government should take immediate and serious measure on this, prisoners’ health should be prioritized by ensuring that they stay safe and have access to health services,” she said.

According to the government data, the country’s prison facilities are still overcrowded by thousands despite various measures by the government to reduce the numbers.

Home Affairs Deputy Minister Khamis Chilo told the National Assembly last week that until March 30 this year, there were a total of 33,473 inmates in the country’s jails out of which some 16,735 were prisoners and 16,738 remandees while the country’s prisons accommodation capacity is 29,902.

This translates into excess population of 3,671 prisoners and remandees.

Chilo said that the government is aware of overcrowding in prisons and cells and it has been taking various measures to address the problem which include constructing more prisons as well as involving criminal justice agencies to fast-track listening of trials and cases.

In the same vein, Taofiq said that the committee has found that distance to treatment centres had contributed to the majority of HIV/TB patients to fail to adhere to their doses.

“So the government should think on bringing the services closer to people,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Committee on Good Governance and Local Government, called on the government through the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) to accelerate the completion of the ‘National Investment Guideline’ which will provide right direction on investment issues.

Humphrey Polepole, the committee’s chairman said that the guideline should be also uploaded online so as to enable investors be aware of the conditions and key things to consider in their investment plans.

The Parliamentary Committee on Constitution and Legal Affairs said its analysis had found that budget of the Prime Minister's Office for the 2021/22 fiscal year has fallen by almost half because the government has reduced dependency on foreign budget support which have largely been not provided on time and thus delaying the implementation of plans.

“We (the committee) had advised the Prime Minister's office to reduce dependency on foreign funding in implementing its budget plans but rather strengthen efforts by creating new sources of local collections including increasing revenue collection capacity, ”said Najma Giga Vice Chairman of the Committee.

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