Kenyan Judge Says Jailing Tuberculosis Patients Is Illegal

Tuberculosis is a deadly airborne disease ( can be contracted when around an infected person through the air being breathed in).

When a person contracts it, they are placed on immediate medication, and sometimes isolated to prevent a wide spread of the disease.

The treatment often goes on for months. However, patients sometimes stop their medications when they feel they are getting stronger, at other times just forgetting to take their medication. For a disease like tuberculosis, this can prove quite dangerous, not only to the patient but to those around the patient.

In 2010, Daniel Ng’etich and Patrick Kipngetich were jailed for 8 months or till the completion of their TB treatment after it was discovered that the duo had failed to stick to their treatment regimen.

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The move came under criticism as it was discovered that the duo were not in isolation in prison, also they were being treated as criminals, handcuffed and mishandled.

“Everyone has a right to quality medical care and this must be provided with dignity and respect,” Pascaline Kang’ethe the national coordinator, rights to health and HIV/AIDS had said at ActionAid International Kenya.

“This is a case of discrimination and the move is bound to cause others in need of treatment to shy away fearing arrest.”

The same sentiments were reiterated lately when Judge Mumbi Ngugi tagged their sentence as unlawful. She stated that isolating people who had diseases that could spread easily but she added that a crowded prison is the worst place to isolate people with infectious diseases.

The judge also directed the ministry of health to issue policy guidelines within the next 90 days.

Daniel Ng’etich and Patrick Kipngetich have recovered from their Tuberculosis and are faring well.

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