Lawyer Allan Maleche (2nd left),leave Milimani law courts in the company of (left to right) Daniel Ngetich,Patric Kipngetich and Henry Ngetich after he filed a case challenging the government over detention and imprisonment of the three over absconding taking T.B medication and their compensation over the imprisonment on Jul 22,2015..
BY SAM ALFAN.
Two men jailed in 2010 for two months for having defaulted on their prescribed medical treatment for TB were detained for they posed danger to the public, Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has said.
Macharia filed a response in a case where two men, Daniel Ng’etich and Patrick Kipng’etich Kirui are seeking compensation for the physical suffering occasioned by the imprisonment.
They have sued the government, a magistrate Court in Kapsabet, Public Health Officer Nandi Central District Tuberculosis Defaulter Tracing Coordinator and the Health CS.
In replying affidavit, CS Macharia said that the Public Health officer made an application in court that the petitioners be imprisoned because a TB treatment if defaulted is likely to lead to multidrug resistant TB and extra drug restart TB which are very difficult and expensive to treat.
He said this would have caused great danger to the general population if the two were allowed to mix and interact freely with the public.
Macharia said that the two petitioners were taken through proper health education on need to adhere to treatment and warned if they default, legal compulsive approach of confinement would be used on them.
“Despite the Public Health Officer educating the petitioners on the aforementioned treatment options, they ignored to adhere to the guidelines on treatment and went ahead and defaulted in taking their medication,” said the CS in suit papers.
Macharia said the Public Health Officer tried in vain to look for the two petitioners so that they could take their drugs but calls to them went unanswered and manty visits to their homes were unfruitful.
He said when the Public Health Officer failed to locate them ,he proceeded and had the two men arrested and arraigned in court for failing to take TB medication prescribed for them.
“The Public Health officer sought court order to have the two petitioners detained at the Kapsabet G.K prison because they defaulted in taking medication and their actions exposed the general public of Kiropket area and their immediate families to the risk of TB infections,” he said.
The two were arrested on August 12, 2010 and pleaded guilty to having severally defaulted on their prescribed medical treatment for TB.
The court ordered that they be confined in prison cells for eight months. However the two were released after serving two months following interventions from civil society organizations.
Through their Lawyer Allan Chesa Maleche,the Executive Director for Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV/AIDS(KELIN),the two seeks to challenge the widespread of practice adopted by Public Health officers in seeking to confine TB Patients in prison for purposes of treatment.
Their Lawyer Chesa Maleche argued that the Prison Act does not provide for isolation facilities for TB Patients and holding TB Patients in prison not only put a risk to the other prisoners but to the prison wardens and their family members.
High court Judge Mumbi Ngugi directed that the petitioners file further affidavits within 21 days.
The case will be heard on November 2.