Dream Weaver Foundation has launched a project to promote anti-retroviral therapy (ART) adherence among inmates in prisons and police cells.
In an interview, the organisation’s executive director Dingiswayo Banda said the project, run in conjunction with police and prison authorities, is at Kanengo, Lingadzi and Kawale police stations in Lilongwe.
“We want to ensure that inmates on ART are getting their medication,” he said.
According to project coordinator Henry Mtunga, the organisation will link the two institutions to ensure there are proper handovers of suspects’ health information.
He said: “What happens is that those on remand in prisons are regarded as being under police.
“So, prison authorities need to link up with particular police stations regarding their HIV status to facilitate medication.”
In a separate interview, Malawi Prison Service HIV coordinator (Centre) Peter Mwale said 24 percent of inmates in Malawi’s prisons are HIV positive.
He said: “When a person is brought from police custody, we test them. We also conduct another test after sometime.
“When they are being released, we conduct the final test and if any tests positive, we refer them to the police station they came from.”
On her part, Malawi Police Service HIV coordinator (Centre) Martha Malanda said police stations are aware that it is their responsibility to ensure that inmates access medication.
“When prison authorities inform us that a suspect is HIV positive, we take them to hospital for treatment,” she said.