A message on Mumia’s health condition

March 8, 2021

The following message is from Dr. Ricardo Alvarez, who is serving as a medical consultant for Mumia Abu-Jamal. Earlier in March Abu-Jamal tested positive for COVID-19 and was treated for congestive heart disease.

Worsening dermatitis on Mumia’s leg extends all over his body.

His heart is suffering the strain of the State’s relentless efforts to kill him. We must not forget that Mumia has suffered for years from a serious skin condition that has never been resolved and causes great suffering. The picture shows just one small portion of Mumia’s body which is completely covered with lesions and has been worse in COVID. Mumia is suffering from multiple diseases of the stress of incarceration. The only treatment for Mumia now is FREEDOM. He is precisely the high-risk category patient for complications for COVID. His age, his underlying liver damage, his hypertension and now his congestive heart failure require constant monitoring.

Mumia can’t get access to the loving support of healers in our community, who could use different types of balms and traditional medical treatments because they are denied in the prison. Only medications that are approved by the FDA are allowed. There is only so much prison medicine can do.

Prison itself is the cause of his illness. It is what the CDC calls a “social determinant” of his health, which refers to the conditions of the built environment where people live that affect their health. We all know these conditions — poverty, lack of access to health, poor education, and now we are appreciating that Racism is a public health crisis.

The American Public Health Association has declared Racism as a public health crisis, as have cities and counties across the nation, as well as the prestigious medical faculty at UPENN. Mumia’s condition is very serious, and prison medicine can’t provide him what he needs, even with the newest and fanciest of medicines. He needs to be freed from the conditions of State-Sanctioned murder.