‘Massive diarrhoea outbreak at Chikurubi’

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AN INMATE at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison (Chikurubi) has launched an urgent High Court application in which he wants authorities to deal with diarrhoea, hepatitis B and tuberculosis outbreaks at the facility.
This was contained in an application filed by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum on behalf of inmate Taurai Dodzo, who is suing the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) Commissioner General Moses Chihobvu, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.

Dodzo wants an order for the authorities to ensure that temporary measures are put in place to improve access to water, which include use of mobile bowsers and for ill prisoners to be quarantined.

The inmate also wants Treasury chief Ncube ordered to immediately release funds for supplementary daily water supplies to Chikurubi and for the clinic to be fully stocked with all essential medicines and equipped with
requisite technology.

Dodzo is also demanding that efforts be taken to decongest the facility to maintain populations suited for compliance with social distancing rules during this Covid-19 pandemic.

He said since the week beginning November 8, Chikurubi experienced a power outage that left the facility without water and he relied on relatives of fellow inmates for drinking water.

He said they had resorted to an open pond within the prison where they are fetching a bucket of water each for all purposes.

Dodzo added that the facility was overpopulated without proper ablution facilities, making it a hub for disease
outbreaks.

Chikurubi has a carrying capacity of 1 360 but has 2 000 inmates. “The shortage of water has resulted in an outbreak of serious diseases including diarrhoea, hepatitis B and tuberculosis. Regrettably, prison officials do not separate sick prisoners from the healthy ones.

“The prison does not have in its internal medical units, medication for those who fall sick and I am therefore worried that in the event of me contracting one of the prevalent diseases, I could go untreated and suffer irreparably,” Dodzo in the application.

Dodzo revealed how 500 inmates in one holding cell relied on two toilets, adding that their dietary needs were being ignored.

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