Since September the collaboration between the prison in Blantyre (Chichiri) and the DREAM center of Mandala for the treatment of prisoners suffering from AIDS, has officially taken off.
As is known, often in African prisons living conditions are very difficult, there is little food, hygiene is scarce and the overcrowding is a chronic problem.
The inmates are the poorest of the poor and it is difficult for them to access health care, in particular in the case of complex diseases.
There is an open debate in Malawi about how to improve the living conditions of the inmates and create a more human detention system, where the penalty is not added to the suffering inflicted by the conditions of extreme hardship. The way with which a state takes care of the most vulnerable, including those in prison, is the litmus test of a society that respects and protects all its citizens.
The Community of Sant’Egidio in Malawi has always worked to improve the conditions of life in prison and is present with frequent visits, distribution of basic necessities (such as food and soap), and the organization of special Christmas dinners. But the most important aspect is the personal friendship with inmates giving in return, human dignity to each person.
From this friendship arose the idea to do something more for prisoners who are HIV positive or who are already being treated with antiretroviral drugs for AIDS.
The agreement provides the possibility of performing blood collection within the prison, to be sent to DREAM’s molecular biology laboratory for the count of CD4 and the viral load.
Through the monitoring of the care given is now also possible to assist adequately patients living in prison.