Feb 28, 2013 News Comments Off on TB in prisons a serious public health concern – Health Minister
As part of the efforts to promote health and human rights of prisoners, measures must be put in place to address the problem of overcrowding even as living conditions are improved. This is the recommendation of the World Health Organisation (WHO) if the impact of tuberculosis is to be reduced in the prisons system.
This recommendation has been fully embraced by the local health sector and was recently deliberated on when the Ministry of Health convened a meeting to discuss the health and human rights of prisoners.
According to Minister of Health Dr Bheri Ramsaran, “TB is one area that must be addressed and neglecting to provide quality services to prisoners can very well upset some of the achievements of our anti-TB programmes and some of the efforts of Dr (Jeetendra) Mohanlall.”
He explained that a very enlightened approach will also “bring us to the conclusion that this will help us fight diseases in the wider society as public health interventions that are needed.”
Attempts to solicit comments from senior prison officials yesterday about the implementation of needful measures in the local prisons systems to address TB were futile but according to WHO, the priority strategy must be the widespread implementation of the Stop TB Strategy.
This is particularly needful to address TB/HIV co-infection and Multi-drug resistant (MDR)-TB in the incarcerated population.
According to WHO, every prisoner should have unrestricted access to the correct diagnosis and treatment of TB. It has been noted, too, that delays in the detection and treatment of TB cases must be minimised to reduce further transmission of infection and pressures to self-treat TB even as unregulated, erratic treatment of TB in prisons is ended.
Addressing this issue too requires that urgent action is taken to integrate prison and civilian TB services to ensure treatment completion for prisoners released during treatment, WHO recommends.
According to Minister Ramsaran, efforts by the local health sector to examine the health and human rights situation in Guyana are unfolding against a significant historic background whereby efforts are being made within the security sector to undertake progressive reform.
This reform, according to him, is certainly not occurring now and is in fact one that is embraced by the ruling administration.
He added that the Ministry of Home Affairs has since sought to make public advertisements for the suitable applicants to fill the position of prison doctors. And according to the Health Minister, “I can tell you that Mr (Clement) Rohee (Minister of Home Affairs) has been actively approaching my Ministry to provide doctors from our pool.”
However, the Home Affairs Ministry has in its budget a line item which caters to the employment of doctors, Dr Ramsaran noted. He said that the Ministry is also working with its partners such as the Pan American Health Organisation to ensure that the health care of prisoners, particularly as it relates to TB is addressed.
According to WHO, prisons act as a reservoir for TB, pumping the disease into the civilian community through staff, visitors and inadequately treated former inmates. In essence, “TB does not respect prison walls,” thus improving its control in prisons benefits the community at large,” WHO has stated.
It was highlighted too that “community TB control efforts cannot afford to ignore prison TB” since prisoners have the right to at least the same level of medical care as that of the general community. As a result WHO has asserted that “drawing attention and resources to the problem of TB in prisons is likely to lead an overall improvement in prison condition, the health of inmates and human rights.”
Oct 16, 2018Twenty four teams have been confirmed to participate in the second edition of the Georgetown Softball Cricket League Inc/Prime Minister’s T20 Softball Cup which will commence on Friday in...
Oct 16, 2018
Oct 16, 2018
Oct 16, 2018
Oct 16, 2018
Oct 15, 2018
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]