In an effort to improve access to quality healthcare among incarcerated juveniles in Zambia, the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) in collaboration with the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) has embarked on an ambitious 30 months project dubbed Elton John Juvenile Offenders’ Health (EJJOH) project covering 13 correctional facilities across the country. The objective of the program is to build capacity of Zambia correctional service to provide holistic and integrated health services to juveniles in incarceration.
Although health challenges faced by this target group are numerous, this 30 months EJJOH project which commenced implementation on 1stFebruary 2018 focuses on addressing HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB), Hepatitis B, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and mental health. The project includes legal assistance to unordered juveniles to ameliorate the challenge of overcrowding in cells, which in turn contributes to the spread of diseases.
To ensure effective and sustainable provision of the services the EJJOH project trained 13 Correctional and Social Welfare Officers in Psychosocial and Child Counseling. The project targets juveniles but also carters for all inmates and officers with their families in the covered correctional facilities where the served are considered indirect beneficiaries.
Speaking during the training, Clement Nchimunya Moonga, EJJOH Programme Manager said, “the project is covering 10 correctional facilities, one Reformatory School under the Ministry of Home Affairs and two Approved Schools under the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services”.
Deputy Principal for Insakwe Approved School, Stacia Choompa gave a vote of thanks to CIDRZ on behalf other participants, “I would like to give my gratitude to the organisers of this program as it has given us a better understanding on how juveniles who have come in conflict with the law behave. This workshop has added a plus to our service and we shall utilize the skills learned.”
The 10 days Psychosocial/Child Counseling training was conducted by the Bolton Health Institute based at Chainama School of Health Sciences.