Known as one of the big-five correctional facilities in South Africa, Kgoši Mampuru II Management Area (KM II MA) is working hard to address anxiousness and fear, both inside the centres and out in the terrain, as a result of the Coronavirus.
Confirmation of COVID-19 in one of its centres has brought the reality of the pandemic closer home, and management is taking extra measures to ensure that the spread of the disease is curbed.
The first Covid-19 case was recorded when a remand detainee tested positive on 25 April 2020. Out of 50 inmates who were placed under quarantine only 12 are left for further monitoring. Fifty six (56) officials who might have been in contact with the inmates were also sent away for 14 days and 49 of them reported back to work today, 11 May 2020 while (seven) 7 of them are still at home. To date, six (6) more remand detainees tested positive and no confirmed case amongst officials. This brings the total number of positive cases to seven (7) inmates.
There are 431 officials and 3 597 inmates who have been tested so far. KM II MA embarked on mass screening and testing, for both officials and inmates, in collaboration with the Department of Health and the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS). Both officials and inmates breathed a sigh of relief, and welcomed the move by the department, indicating that the mass screening and testing, clubbed with a total disinfection of the centre, will put them at ease. “Now that the Department has taken these measures, we will know the magnitude of the infection and this will lower unnecessary panic,” said an official.
Medical Practitioner at KM II MA, Dr Winnie Seaketso indicated that the management area is doing everything in its power to ensure the virus does not spread further. Though the process of testing and screening is not moving at a desired pace, Dr Seaketso was confident that no stone will be left unturned. However, continuous screening and testing only may not be enough. Hence, health care professionals are also tasked, amongst others, with the responsibility of facilitating awareness through ensuring both officials and inmates understand all about the virus, its prevention and treatment.
Area Commissioner (AC) of KM II MA, Mr Emmanuel Khoza reiterated his confidence in the capabilities of the Health Care professionals, managers and all officials and also advised against working in isolation. “This is the time for us to work in unison. The ultimate goal is ensuring that both officials and inmates are safe from the virus. If we pull together, we will overcome this challenge,” he said talking to the Covid-19 task team in the management area.
The AC encouraged infected inmates to remain strong, follow instructions of the medical staff, and wished them a speedy recovery. Psycho-social support is also offered to quarantined officials through the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). Infected and quarantined inmates are also being supported by psychologists continuously. This is done to ensure that everyone has the necessary support and information needed to avoid unnecessary frustrations.
AC Khoza strongly believes that the battle will be won through team work and enhanced collaboration. He urged officials to sanitize, wash hands regularly, wear masks, maintain social distancing and adhere to the regulations stipulated by the Disaster Management Act.