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Keeping our correctional centres healthy

Written by Tshifhiwa Magadani

It is the job of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) to ensure that inmates are cared for in a secure, safe and humane environment that promotes their rehabilitation.

Helping the DCS look after inmates’ healthcare, nutritional, environmental and personal hygiene needs is a team of highly qualified medical professionals, including pharmacists like Khomotjo Malobekhe, who works in the DCS’s Leeuwkop Management Area in Gauteng.

As trained health professionals, the pharmacists who are part of the DCS’s healthcare service team provide a number of services, including conducting health and wellness tests, managing chronic diseases, performing medication management, doing immunisations and more.

Malobekhe, who grew up in Ga-Raphahlelo village in Sekgosese, Limpopo, joined the DCS in May 2017. It was always her dream to become a pharmacist because of the good work they do in improving the quality of people’s lives.

She enrolled for a Bachelor of Pharmacy Degree at the University of Limpopo. After graduating, the determined woman went on to further her studies, eventually obtaining a Master of Pharmacy Degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, with specialisations in Pharmacovigilance and Bioethics.

Today, her daily duties include pharmacy administration, presentations, supervising and managing pharmaceutical services and ensuring that the healthcare items needed to look after inmates are available.

She was motivated to join the department because of her desire to grow in her career and do as much good as possible, particularly when it comes to helping people in vulnerable spaces and situations, like those in correctional facilities.

“I wanted to contribute in making sure that the pharmaceutical services rendered to inmates are of good quality and also to facilitate education sessions to equip inmates with knowledge on how to use their medication safely and teach them about the various medical conditions that they suffer from,” Malobekhe explains.

She says her highly specialised area of work within the DCS proves the department’s determination to rehabilitate and look after offenders in a humane and safe environment.

Malobekhe describes the current coronavirus situation as challenging and frustrating. “Its impact has been huge on the economy and the department is no exception. However, as a department, we have managed to procure the necessary personal protective equipment and the essential items to manage and prevent the rapid spread of the virus as much as we can,” she says.