Prisoner Sues Government for Denial of Timeous Life Saving Medical Tests and Drugs

12 November 2008:
Prisoner Sues Government for Denial of Timeous Life Saving Medical Tests and Drugs

The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) will tomorrow sue the Attorney General in her capacity as the government representative and the Commissioner of Prisoners for P500 000.00 on behalf of Hendrick Moreetsi, a prisoner currently incarcerated at First Offenders Prison in Gaborone. The matter is set to be heard on Thursday 13th November 2008 at 8.30am at the Lobatse High Court before the Honourable Justice Dibotelo.

The facts of the case are that after testing positive for HIV in April 2006, Moreetsi was advised to go for a CD4 Count test to ascertain his eligibility for antiretroviral drugs and was assured that he would be taken for the test on the 18th of April 2006. However, the test failed to materialize.

At his trial for which he is currently incarcerated, Moreetsi appealed to the Magistrate to intervene and she accordingly obliged and directed the prison officials in attendance to take him for a CD 4 Count test and to provide the court with Moreetsi’s medical records. This order was again ignored until a test was arranged by the Magistrate which confirmed Moreetsi was HIV Positive. He was then denied further tests that include a sputum test and consultation of an Ear and Throat Specialist as he had an ear infection until 31st July 2006 (7 months later) when the ear infection had progressed to the point that tests would be detrimental to the ear tissue.

On the 11th of August 2006, he was attended to by Dr. Musange from the Scottish Livingstone Hospital, and forwarded a prescription to the First Offenders Infirmary to acquire and administer the medication, but was denied the medication until the 7th of September with the assistance of the Magistrate.

On the basis of the above case, BONELA is representing Moreetsi in suing the government for constitutional damages for impairment of his dignity and violation of his constitutional rights as a result of the acts and or omissions occasioned on him and his personality by the servants of the Commissioner of Prisons.

Further, our client was owed a duty of care by the latter, which duty was neglected resulting in the aforementioned damages.