Inmates at Kakamega GK Prison have a reason to smile after they were gifted a consignment of medicines for treating scabies. The same outbreak was also reported at Busia GK Prison.
The male inmates at the facility have been battling an outbreak of scabies, a contagious skin condition caused by the human itch mites that burrow into the skin. The main symptom of the disease is intense itching.
According to the Prison Welfare Officer George Mutebi, the outbreak could have been caused by congestion and poor hygiene among the inmates.
Speaking moments after receiving the drugs from Jesus Freedom Ministry, a faith-based group, Mutebi said the majority of the inmates lack basic items for their daily use.
“Most of them have a challenge in accessing basic needs such as soap and tissue paper, that is why they skip taking showers or washing their clothes causing the outbreak of scabies and other skin diseases,” he said.
He disclosed that apart from scabies, some inmates had contracted other diseases such as chicken pox. “We also have a problem of bedbugs preying on the inmates but we have made arrangements to roll out a fumigation programme.”
Mutebi has called on well-wishers to donate basic items to the inmates.
“The disease has become an issue of public concern and we welcome anyone to support the inmates,” said Duncan Otieno, the duty officer. “These prisoners are our brothers and sisters, we appeal for help from well-wishers to come on board and help us even if it means helping them get medication or basic needs,” said Otieno.
He said scabies are a common disease in overcrowded places including prisons and boarding schools among other public places. “We would like to manage and control scabies in our facility before the disease can spread to surrounding communities,” said Benbela Oyalo from Jesus' Freedom Ministry. Oyalo said the faith-based group will conduct a health education on personal hygiene for the inmates and fumigate prisons. [Mary Imenza]