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Female prisoners have many needs – Filinga

LUSAKA Central Correctional Female Facility deputy officer-in-charge Mary Filinga has thanked Zamtel for donating sanitary towels to the institution, saying it is rare for society of think of prisoners. Speaking when Zamtel handed over the sanitary towels yesterday, Filinga said there were many needs that the women had. She said the women were being trained in different skills such as home economics, general agriculture, designing, cutting and tailoring, and plastering and bricklaying.

Filinga said any support, especially training material and machinery, would help. And Zamtel chief human resources and administration officer Betty Matandiko Sikana said it was important that female inmates were provided with sanitary towels to ensure that their reformatory periods were manageable. Sikana said the visit ahead of International Women’s Day which falls tomorrow under the theme, ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’ was a way of showing inmates that people care and reassuring them that society had not forgotten them.

She said the Lusaka Correctional Facility was home to men and women who live in the communities. Sikana said Zamtel firmly believed that there was need to show the same affection to inmates as they undergo reformation by contributing to their general wellbeing. She said it was common knowledge that correctional facilities today were faced with a myriad of challenges.

“The government alone cannot afford to meet the ever-increasing demands in our correctional facilities. We are aware that Zambia’s inmate population countrywide, which stands in excess of 21,000, requires concerted efforts from partners in order to manage these challenges. Lusaka Central Correctional facility alone has well over 1,200 inmates with around 162 of these being female. The challenges the correctional facilities face therefore require a paradigm shift and that is why we take cognisant of the efforts the government is making in decongesting the prisons,” Sikana said.

She said as for women, their challenges were many and take a whole new perspective. Sikana called upon other corporates and non-governmental organisations to take a keen interest and assist the government in bridging some of the gaps that have been identified in correctional facilities. She said medical research states that poor hygiene in women was one of the major causes of fungal infections, reproductive tract infection (RTI) and urinary tract infection (UTI).

Sikana said unhygienic practices also leave women vulnerable to infertility because of infections.

“It is therefore important that female inmates should be provided with sanitary towels to ensure that their reformatory period whilst in these facilities is manageable,” said Sikana.

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