[Ip-health] Press Release: COURT STOPS HOSPITALS FROM RETURNING PATIENTS WITH MULTI-DRUG RESISTANT TB (MDR-TB) TO PRISON
colleen at cdglobalconsult.com
Fri Oct 12 01:49:42 PDT 2018
When human rights interventions including training lawyers about TB and
human rights is funded we get results!
This is an enormous step forward and SALC, KELIN, ARASA, UNDP and others
should be congratulated for taking the steps forward to take on TB and
supported as the work has just begin for this case.
Please share widely.
*Issued by the Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance
(CHREAA), the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), Facilitators of
Community Transformation (FACT) and the AIDS and Rights Alliance for
Southern Africa (ARASA)*
12 October 2018
COURT STOPS HOSPITALS FROM RETURNING PATIENTS WITH MULTI-DRUG RESISTANT TB
(MDR-TB) TO PRISON
ZOMBA – The Malawi High Court yesterday granted an urgent interim
injunction preventing the return of six persons diagnosed with multi-drug
resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) to prison.
Between August and September, six inmates from Maula and Mzimba Prisons
were diagnosed with MDR-TB, a contagious form of tuberculosis (TB)
infection caused by bacteria that are resistant to treatment with at least
two of the most powerful first-line anti-TB drugs. They have been receiving
in-patient treatment but are due to be released from hospital. However,
because all six are convicted inmates, their release from hospital would
have meant a return to the prisons.
The six inmates were joined by the Centre for Human Rights Education Advice
and Assistance (CHREAA) in the court application and represented by Ms
Chikondi Chijozi. They argued that returning the six inmates to prison
would violate not only their constitutional rights but also the rights of
all other inmates and people working in and visiting the prisons who would
be exposed to the risk of MDR-TB infection.
MDR-TB is spread through coughing and is highly contagious. Severe
overcrowding and poor ventilation in the prisons, combined with the lack of
adequate food and the absence of isolation facilities to accommodate these
persons while infectious and undergoing lengthy and highly toxic treatment,
are a breeding ground for the spread of this drug-resistant strain of TB.
MDR-TB transmission rates are exponentially increased in congested settings.
While a constitutional case is pending to secure the setting aside of the
inmates’ sentences and for other orders, the High Court granted the
Applicants the interim order to stop their return to prison. While they
remain in hospital, the Court granted further orders to prevent the
government from chaining and shackling the men, a practice amounting to
torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in their condition.
Victor Mhango, the Executive Director of CHREAA said, “We are sad that the
terrible conditions of detention have led to an outbreak of MDR-TB in these
two prisons. But we appreciate that the Court and the relevant government
departments appear to share a sense of urgency and concern to ensure the
harm is contained. While we have secured some short-term relief today, the
only way to really fix the problem is for a fundamental reform of the
conditions of imprisonment.”
“All prisoners have a right to life and to be held in conditions consistent
with human dignity. We are pleased that the Court has recognised that
returning the six Applicants to prison would risk not only the Applicants’
rights but other people’s rights too,” said Annabel Raw, Health Rights
Lawyer from the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), which is
supporting the Applicants’ case.
Thokozile Phiri Nkhoma, Executive Director of Facilitators of Community
Transformation (FACT) said, “While MDR-TB can be deadly and its treatment
long and very toxic, TB is preventable and treatable. The government’s new
2018 Tuberculosis Control Programme includes some really positive plans,
including to advance access to better medications. What we need is to see
these plans enforced in all places – from communities, to clinics, and to
prisons – to cut the infection chain, if we are to end this disease by
Michaela Clayton, Director of the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern
Africa (ARASA), said, “We continue to stress the urgency of
human-rights-based responses to TB in the region. These calls have recently
been reaffirmed in the adoption of the Global Declaration on Tuberculosis
by Heads of States
at the High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis in New York on 26 September 2018. We
are happy to see this Court and the lawyer representing the Applicants
today delivering such progressive responses. From here it is important to
ensure that the individuals affected receive the best available treatment
*For more information:*
Victor Mhango, Executive Director, CHREAA: +265 999 95 22 56;
victormhango at chreaa.org.
Annabel Raw, Health Rights Lawyer, SALC: +010 596 8538; AnnabelR at salc.org.za
Thokozile Phiri Nkhoma, Executive Director, FACT: (+265) 995 643 884;
pthokozile at factmw.org
Global Health Consultant
CD Global Consulting
Mobile: +61 490 955146
Email: colleen at cdglobalconsult.com
More information about the Ip-health