Since June 2014 MSF has established a permanent presence in two of the four central prisons in Malawi: Maula prison in the capital Lilongwe (the largest in the country with 2650 inmates serving both short and long sentences) and Chichiri in the southern city of Blantyre (2000 inmates, both convicts with mid-term sentences and also a significant number of remandees awaiting trial). MSF’s medical team comprises of four staff in each site.
The intervention aims at addressing the unmet needs of a neglected, extremely high transmission HIV-TB risk group. MSF’s clinicians also provide basic health care for prisoners as well as staff. The vast majority of people in prisons eventually return to their communities. Any diseases contracted in closed settings, or made worse by poor conditions of confinement, become matters of public health.