In the women’s prison in Ouagadougou, 13 babies and toddlers are in detention alongside the normal inmates. Many convicted mothers have no choice but to take their children with them despite severe hygiene issues and a lack of resources to care for them.
“There are no medicine here for the baby because it is no pharmacy, the living conditions are not good so it’s not easy,” said Pascaline, a prisoner mother.
On the other hand activists have raised alarm on the conditions of children who share daily life with their mothers in prison.
“In our prisons and correction rooms, we treat almost every disease with paracetamol, but the babies need syrup … and even porridge. we have to take that into account yet they do not exist,” said Freeman Tapily, a prisoner activists.
The conditions of the in mates are deplorable as confirmed by this prison warden.
“There are those that are still arraigned in court and there are convicts and therefore the cells are a bit squeezed and the are a bit piled up. There is no enough room,” said Ruth, a warden at the women prison.
The number of children living in prisons in Burkina Faso, one of the poorest Sahel countries in the world, is estimated at about 30. National records puts the number of women in prison at 300 in the entire country.