Inmates with mental illness and those living with HIV and AIDS continue to face a number of challenges including lack of basic needs and access to appropriate treatment.

A call has thus come forth for government and the donor community to work towards mobilising provision of these resources.

Considering that most of the country’s prisons are facing a number of challenges worsened by an unfavourable economic environment and overcrowding, inmates living with HIV and AIDS and mental illness continue to be the most affected.

Speaking at the handover ceremony of prison psychiatry project to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, the Medicines Sans Frontiers’ (MSF) head of mission for Zimbabwe Mrs Abi Kebrabelaye said there is need for an improved care for prison inmates with mental illness and those living with HIV and AIDS through providing HIV tests, treatment and provision of support and care.

The ZPCS Commissioner General Paradzai Zimondi said challenges relating to budgetary constraints are affecting their operations leaving inmates with mental illness and those living with HIV and AIDS at risk.

Recommendations were also made to urgently review detention of patients with mental illness as many of them were experiencing prolonged imprisonment due to delays in the review of their case files by the mental health review tribunal which has not sat in over three years.