15 June 2011 - The UNMIS medical team in Upper Nile State organized a one-day medical camp today at Malakal National Prison, where they treated 121 inmates and 20 prison staff.
"The treatment provided by UNMIS ... hospital is the first of its kind," said Malakal National Prison Deputy Director Colonel Othow Omot Okec. "They managed to check and treat prisoners, death-row inmates, women, and insane persons."
Colonel Omot said that UNMIS human rights officers had toured the facility on 14 June to assess the prison's state, identifying healthcare as an urgent need.
"The financial resources (of) the prison (are inadequate) to provide treatment for this big number," he said.
The UNMIS officers observed the absence of a medical facility and malnourishment among the inmates.
"Based on our direct contact with the inmates we observed that most of them look malnourished, others complained of all kinds of pains and access to proper basic medication was lacking," said Human Rights Officer Sonny Onyegbula.
The inmates expressed their appreciation for the medical care.
"I am happy that I got some medicines from UNMIS," said 20-year-old Makwac Chuol Galuak, who was suffering from a cough. "I complained to the prison staff but was told that there was no money to provide treatment to me."
Currently, medical assistants provide first aid care and inmates needing more specialized medical care are transferred to Malakal Teaching Hospital for treatment.
"We are constructing a whole new facility to provide treatment for the inmates locally here, instead of the main hospital, and it will be much more secure for the inmates and the facility to be self contained. But until such time we need help," Colonel Omot stated.
The prison's deputy director thanked UNMIS and requested biweekly visits by the UNMIS doctor to examine inmates.