Geoffrey Mwilima’s health condition deteriorating in jail

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Allow us to inform you on an issue that seeks your indulgence on the condition of Geoffrey Mwilima, a former member of parliament, who is at Windhoek Correctional Facility.

Mwilima (62) suffers from chronic diabetes mellitus, chronic high blood pressure, epilepsy and renal failure. He goes for dialysis twice a week for four hours since September 2014. After the dialysis sessions, he is severely dehydrated, yet he is expected to walk for a long distance from the porter’s office to the maximum unit, Unit 6, where he is being kept.

The Namibian Prison Service agreed in court, during his trial and after his sentencing, that they were going to provide him with the necessary dietary requirements due to his medical condition, but to no avail. He spends on average N$1,200 a month to buy his own food as per his dietary needs as necessitated by his medical condition.
Furthermore, he spends N$1,500 a month on medications (co-payment ) for his condition while his medical aid pays the rest.

On top of this, the prison management at Windhoek Correctional Facility moved him from the Prison Health Clinic where his medical condition was being monitored, to Unit 6, Maximum section. At Unit 6, there is no intercom for using in cases of emergencies, so when an inmate with medical conditions such as his needs emergency help he is unable to alert the authorities in time to get help.

Just recently, while at Unit 6, he bled the whole night from the wounds where the dialysis machines are connected but could not get help. Moreover, Unit 6 has no provision for making food ready after 16h00 and thus he takes his diabetic injection on an empty stomach, which worsens his condition.

Mr Mwilima has a prospective kidney donor but the conditions in prison are not conducive to have him given a kidney whilst in prison. The kidney donor process of a transplant requires the highest conditions of health and hygiene, which can only be done in an Intensive Care Unit.

After the kidney transplant process, chances of his body rejecting the kidney are high if he goes back to prison where the conditions are not medically sound.

We are thus pleading with the authorities to consider releasing him on medical grounds, as per Section 108 of the Prison Act, so that the family can take care of him while at home.

In conclusion, Mandela once said, ‘No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.’ We hope and pray that this short plea will receive your attention.

Concerned family members

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