In many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, prisons are overcrowded. Prisoners often live in squalid conditions and the healthcare systems inside prisons are extremely poor. The coronavirus pandemic makes detainees particularly vulnerable and at risk. COVID-19 calls for states to quickly solve issues regarding their detention system to avoid turning detention centers to epicenters of the outbreak.
Pre-trial detainees constitute around 50% to 90% of total prison population of most countries in the continent. Prison systems suffer from many systemic problems that will worsen with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Living conditions in prisons are dire and mostly unsanitary. Tuberculosis is present in many detention centers as well as HIV/AIDS. Medicines are a scarce resource and access to doctors or nurses is difficult.
There are already hundreds of COVID-19 cases in Sub-Saharan Africa prisons. In Cameroon, Guinea or South Africa, the detention centers are quickly becoming epicenters of the pandemic.
Find the statistics here.