By Ngor Deng Matem
Skin diseases identified as chickenpox and scabies have reportedly infected inmates in Wau Civil prison.
Western Bahr el Ghazal State ministry of health confirmed that 35 inmates have been seriously affected.
Dr. Vincent Taban Joseph Surur is the minister of health in WBS. He explained the causes of chickenpox and scabies.
“The State ministry of Health in its routine supportive supervisions to the Health Facilities and other highly populated installations like Wau prison, came across 35 inmates suffering from serious skin health conditions that caused panic and worries among the inmates and prison wardens in Wau. After medical interventions, the SMoH’s Rapid Response medical team established the diagnosis of 20 inmates with chickenpox while 15 inmates with scabies among other fungal skin conditions,” he expressed.
Causes of the chickenpox and scabies include dirtiness or poor hygiene according to Dr Vincent Taban
“These are infections caused by mites and sarcoptes scabies, often related to poor general and personal hygiene practices, lack of clean water and disinfectant, soaps and so on coupled with congestion and overcrowding,” Dr Vincent said.
Wau civil prison facility was constructed with capacity of 200-250 inmates but now hosts 766 according to ministry of health report.
“Currently there are 766 inmates In 16 wards of various accommodation capacities at the time of writing this report with an average of 48 inmates per ward. Some inmates could be spotted putting up in the toilets and bathrooms in turn for a few hours then vacate to allow other inmates in the row to take their turns and come in,” Dr. Vincent narrated in the report.
Minister Vincent encourages the prison services to take care of the prisoners.
‘Though the SMoH is intervening with tropical skin medications among others, yet strongly advocates the Prison authorities to decongest the prison wards and allow spacing for ventilation, cleanliness and healthier accommodations, emphasize on regular cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of the wards, encourage close adherence to WASH (Clean water supply, Sanitation services and good hygiene promotion) practices, provision of soaps, detergents and disinfectants in quantities good enough to meet the needs of the inmates,” he emphasized.