|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 4 | Page : 346-347
Ensuring delivery of quality-assured health services to individuals in prison
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava1, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava2
1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpaet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpaet District, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Submission||23-Mar-2020|
|Date of Decision||05-Apr-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||15-Apr-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||19-Oct-2020|
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpaet District, Tamil Nadu - 603108
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Ensuring delivery of quality-assured health services to individuals in prison. Curr Med Issues 2020;18:346-7
The global leaders and policymakers have aimed for the attainment of universal health coverage, and this vision encompasses all sections of the society, including the vulnerable ones. The available global estimates suggest that more than 11 million people are in judicial custody at any point of time, which is a huge number. The findings of a recently released report targeting prisons in the European region suggested that >13% of deaths in prison results because of suicide and that the prevalence of tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has also been extremely high in prisons. In addition, it has been observed that close to 15% of the nations in the region have no practice to screen individuals for their mental illnesses at the time of entry into the prison., Further, 49% of the nations have not formulated any guidelines to prevent drug-associated deaths.
Keeping this global vision into account and the alarming morbidity-mortality estimates, it is a must that individuals in prison should not be ignored, and every step should be taken to improve their health and well-being., For more than two decades, the World Health Organization as envisaged that the quality of health care offered to individuals in prison should be equivalent to those who are living outside the prison. It will not be wrong to document that the majority of the prisoners go back to the community after serving their punishment and thus time spent in prion should be looked on as one of the health promotion settings, wherein healthy lifestyles should be taught to the prisoners to not only improve their existing morbidities, but also to lead a healthy life on their release.,
Moreover, the time spent in prison can also be used to improve vocational skills, which will, in turn, help them in their employment and rehabilitation subsequently. It is a fact that the surveillance mechanism for health in prison settings is weak, and thus, there is not adequate evidence available to warrant formulation of policies which can meet the special needs of the vulnerable population groups., Our aim should be to ensure integration of the health policies meant for prison with the general public health strategies so that the whole community can derive benefit out of it. However, it is very much true that it is difficult to provide health care of the same standards considering the safety which needs to be maintained in prison.
In the mission to optimize the health and well-being of the individuals in prison, a set of recommendations have been proposed. This includes maintaining the sociodemographic database of people in prison, provision of quality assured health care, steps to make prisons smoke-free along with help to persons to quit tobacco, and provision of nutritious food to inculcate healthy lifestyles and prevention of the onset of lifestyle diseases.,,,, In addition, the practice of starting drug-free centers, screening of individuals for mental disorders at the time of entry, comprehensive health assessment (including dental care), use of standard tools for data collection, implementation of needle and syringe exchange program, and availability of testing for tuberculosis, HIV and other communicable diseases have been advocated in prisons., In a study done in prisons in England, the use of telemedicine has been advocated to improve access, cost, and quality of secondary care for people in prison. Moreover, it is important that all the offered services should adhere to the international human right laws, promote gender equality and that all the collected data are shared with health authorities to aid them in the designing of evidence-based policies.
In conclusion, maintaining the health and well-being of people in prison is a public health priority, and the need of the hour is to take all steps to ensure that they are not left behind.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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