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Provision of clinical Services on the Well-Being of Inmates in Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services: A Case of Harare Central Prison, Harare Province, Zimbabwe

Abstract:This study aimed to investigate the provision of clinical services on the well-being of inmates with life-threatening illnesses in Harare Central Prison, Zimbabwe. The study objective was to explore the extent to which the provision of clinical services has affected the well-being of inmates with life-threatening illnesses. Inadequate provision of healthcare services in prisons attribute as life-threatening. Therefore, the study aimed at improving the welfare of inmates through advocacy and participation of the prison systems to enhance healthcare services. The study utilised a qualitative approach and a case study design through the reference of a transformative worldview paradigm. The units of observation for this study were the prison officials in charge of healthcare services in the prison, and the units of analysis were inmates who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. The sample size was 13 interviewees which were obtained through purposive sampling and data saturation. Self-administered in-depth interviews were used to collect data. Thematic analysis was applied for data analysis and study findings were discussed and presented in the form of narrations. From the findings, the researcher found out that the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services cannot contain life-threatening illnesses. The dignity of such patients is highly recognised and thus such cases are special cases in which compassionate release is well observed. Through lack of funding from the government, the prison faces severe shortages of medicines, vital drugs, insufficient equipment and nutrition for supporting its overall inmate population. The study found out that there is no specific special diet for inmates with life-threatening illnesses but instead they feed on fad diet which slows down the healing process. The study concluded that the inmate population whose care needs palliative attention is vulnerable since they have limited options. Also, overcrowding and poor ventilation is a major concern which has accelerated spreading of communicable diseases. The study recommended unrestricted clinical independence between prison healthcare providers and inmates, introducing fulltime trauma-informed care and self-help groups in prisons that cut across all illnesses and enhancing open door policies which attract more funding from outsiders and relevant partners.

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