Health care needs of detainees in custody with the South African Police Services in Limpopo
Makgatu, Refiloe Patricia
MetadataShow full item record
Good healthcare to all incarcerated populations is essential and forms part of good public healthcare. The World Health Organization (2007) states that a detainee shall be afforded healthcare of the same quality and standard as is available to the general public. Attending to the immediate healthcare needs of detainees in police custody not only acknowledges their right to good healthcare, but also provides opportunities that may benefit the wider community by preventing the spread of diseases and risks of complications caused by diseases. It is a reality that there is an escalation in newly admitted detainees with healthcare needs, some detained with their chronic health problems like diabetes and diseases like tuberculosis (TB) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), while others present with acute illnesses during incarceration in the local police cells. The researcher has encountered the challenge of meeting the healthcare needs of detainees on a daily basis as part of her duties as a professional nurse working at a correctional centre where the detainees are admitted from different police holding cells. The issue of addressing the healthcare needs of detainees in police holding cells poses questions related to the health services available to the population detained by the South African Police Services (SAPS). The researcher believes that a better understanding of the healthcare needs of the detainees in South African police custody and the current management of these needs can enhance the quality of healthcare services to all detainees and improve the quality of health of the wider South African population. The research was aimed at exploring and describing the healthcare needs and management of the needs of detainees in SAPS custody in the Makhado municipality in the Limpopo province as perceived by the police officials working with the detainees on a daily basis in the holding cells. The questions used in search for answers on how the detained population’s healthcare needs can be met, were: “What are the healthcare needs of detainees in SAPS custody in the Makhado municipality in the Limpopo province as perceived by the police officials working with the detainees on a daily basis in the holding cells?” and “What are the perceptions of police officials working with detainees on a daily basis in the holding cells on the challenges in meeting the healthcare needs of detainees in SAPS custody?” The study followed a qualitative interpretive descriptive research approach and data were collected through one-on-one interviews by means of an interview guide to collect information from 30 police officials working with detainees on a daily basis. The data collection and analysis was done simultaneously to identify data saturation. The themes that emerged from the one-on-one interviews were discussed with literature integration. The police officials expressed their views on the reality of the healthcare needs of the detainees they care for in the eight police holding cells included in the study. The themes demonstrated that the detainees have bio-physical, psychological, social, spiritual, environmental and nutritional needs. Respondents have a strong sense that the healthcare needs of the detainees should be addressed by collaborating with Primary Health Care services within the police stations. From the research findings and conclusions the researcher compiled recommendations for nursing education, nursing research and healthcare services.
- Health Sciences