- First Lady of Ghana donated medical supplies to Nsawam prisons.
- She has called on Ghanaians to support Project Efiase.
- She also called on the judiciary to consider non-custodial sentences.
The First Lady, Mrs Lordina Mahama, has donated some medical equipment to the Infirmary at the Nsawam Maximum Security Prisons in the Eastern Region.
The items donated to the Nsawam Prisons was at a durbar that welcomed the first lady to the prisons. At her visit, the first lady used the opportunity to interact with the male and female inmates and the officers in charge of the inmates. She was of the believe that the medical equipment donated would aid the smooth running of the health facility.
Among the items presented were theatre beds, catheters, syringes, mosquito nets, collar, forceps, bandages, gauze, beds, mattresses, blood pressure devices, wheel chairs, blood sample machines, bandages and gloves, drugs, gloves, fridge and theatre bed. The first lady also presented the inmates with some bags of rice, cooking oil, tin tomatoes and sugar, for their nourishment.
The First Lady, who is also the President of the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), called on the Judiciary to review the high sentences meted out to convicts leading to overcrowding in the prisons. She further called on Ghanaians to support and help equip the skills training centers in the various prisons.
Delivering her address during a visit to the Medium Security Prison in Nsawam, Madam Lordina Mahama further called on the Ghanaian society to encourage community service with effective supervision for minor offences as an alternative to imprisonment to help reduce congestion in the prisons. She said minor offences like stealing should be given community services as their sentences, instead of putting all such offenders to prisons which are already congested.
"This, I believe, would help decongest the prisons as well as reduce the burden on the budget of the Prisons Service”, Mrs Mahama said.
She said her maiden visit to the Nsawam Prison followed that of President John Dramani Mahama’s visit last year where he launched the “Efiase Project”. She said the donation was also based on what President Mahama told her about the Infirmary when he visited, saying, it was in need of urgent medical supplies and equipment.
Mrs Mahama advised inmates to consent to testing for HIV and AIDS in order to know their status and to receive early treatment, saying early detection and treatment of the disease was a better option. She emphasized the need for prisoners to enjoy their basic rights to healthcare, saying that their living conditions should promote rather than destroy their good health.
She also asked that female prisoners, especially, should be given access to healthcare treatment whilst adequate arrangements must be made for pregnant prisoners to give birth at a health facility outside the prison.
On his part, the Chairman of the Prisons Council, Rev Stephen Wengam, expressed appreciation on behalf of council members for the first lady’s kind gesture. He added that the medical equipment would assist the infirmary operate like a full hospital. Rev. Stephen Wengam also presented the drawings of a proposed Project EFIASE Prisons hospital to the 1st Lady, Dr Nana Lordina Mahama during her working visit to Nsawam while calling for support for EFIASE to enable the council build a prisons hospital.
The Ag Director Gen, Mr Emmanuel Adzator also appealed to government to increase budgetary support for the Prisons Service and thanked government for its continuous support for all prisons in the country, particularly, the Nsawam Prison which is to benefit from a GH₵50,000.00 dormitory block that would help separate remand prisoners from convicts as well as help ease congestion and ensure proper classification of prisoners.
Ms Mercy Gyamaa, leader of the Inmates, appealed to the president to intervene on their behalf and ensure that sentences imposed on first female offenders were reduced. She also appealed for amnesty and pardon for all categories of cases and prisoners since she said they were all now remorseful of their actions.
In an interview with yen.com.gh, the Chairman of the Prisons council noted that the donation from the first lady would give a phase lift to the infirmary. He disclosed that a committee would be set up to come up with names of medical doctors who would be contacted to do a rotational visit to operate the infirmary as a clinic. He further added that during the first lady’s visit, he talked to him about the pension proposals for prison officers.
At the durbar on Wednesday at the Nsawam Prsions, the first lady received a rousing welcome from the prisons reformed choir and gifts hand made by the inmates in the skills training center. The Prisons Council presented a citation to the 1st Lady-Award of Unprecedented Achievement for her visit and donation courtesy the Lordina Foundation.
The ceremony was witnessed by Eastern Regional Minister and the Eastern Regional Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Chairman of the Prisons Council, Rev Wengam and Ag Director General, Emmanuel Adzator, the prison ambassadors who comprise of Kafui Dey of GHone, MUSIGA President, Bice Osei Kuffour also known Obour, CEO of Macro Logistics, Kwame Cafui Macafui, Mrs. Mandy Obiri Yeboah and Patrice Amegashie of Viasat 1.
The Nsawam Medium Security Prison is made up of two prison establishments, which are the male and female Prison, and these facilities are currently holding in custody, the largest number of prisoners in the country.It currently has in custody, 2,915 convicts and 333 remand prisoners.
The visit by the first lady, Mrs Mahama has been recorded as the first ever sitting First Lady to have visited a Prison, a move which was been highly appreciated by both authorities of the Prisons Council and the inmates as well.