Dr Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe, a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has described the recent death of international model Ibrahim Sima as “an unacceptable tragedy”.
Sima, who was serving a 15-year sentence at the Nsawam Prison following his arrest for narcotics trafficking in 2009, died at the Police Hospital in Accra last Thursday.
He was taken to the hospital after complaining of pains following a collision with a goalkeeper while playing football at the prison. An autopsy report, however, indicated that the model died from acute appendicitis and purulent peritonitis.
These conditions result from the inflammation of parts of the large intestine when blocked by faecal matter. The infected part ruptures, causing the infection and the inflammation of the lining of the abdomen.
Following the autopsy, the Public Relations Officer of the Nsawam prison, Vitalis Aiyeh, said the prison could not be blamed for Sima’s death because the Nsawam prison lacked the capacity to detect symptoms of Sima’s condition.
“The prisons infirmary is not well equipped and there is no resident doctor, we have nurses but they can only work with what they have so beyond first aid, every other case is referred to a hospital,” he said.
Reacting to the events leading to and after Sima’s death, Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe described the healthcare situation at the Nsawam prison “as totally unacceptable”.
“It is unacceptable that 57 years after independence, Ghana’s most prominent prison, Nsawam, does not have a resident doctor or adequate healthcare professionals. If the state puts people in prison their healthcare becomes its direct responsibility,” he emphasised.
“We need to understand that anyone can end up in prison. Prison is not just for rapists, armed robbers and murderers,” he said, adding that since independence some leaders of all the main political parties in the country had tasted imprisonment, particularly at Nsawam.
Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe recounted that he had been an inmate of the Nsawam Prison twice, and that during his second imprisonment in the 1980’s, he doubled as the resident prison doctor, through the intervention of the Catholic Church and Mr Kwame Pianim, an economist.
“So many lives were saved as a result,” he said, and wondered how come the facility still did not have a permanent doctor.
Dr Nyaho-Tamakloe called on the government as a matter of urgency to address the healthcare situation in the prisons, particularly so, as overcrowding had increased health risks to the inmates.
source : Graphic Online