Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Experts raise concern over prisoners’ health



Experts raise concern over prisoners’ health

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Inmates sit in the courtyard of Prey Sar prison. Experts raise concerns about prisoners’ health who are facing physical challenges. Heng Chivoan

Experts raise concern over prisoners’ health

Experts have expressed concerns about the health of prison inmates who are facing a wide range of physical challenges, including tuberculosis, drug addiction and depression – while prisons are overcrowded and have insufficient clean water.

Officials said that due to the drug crackdown which began earlier this year, the prison population has increased by 50 per cent since last year to more than 30,000.

Experts raised their concerns about inmates’ health at the Asian and Pacific Conference on Prison Health which began on Wednesday in Phnom Penh and organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), involving partners from the Health and Interior ministries, along with relevant NGOs in the region.

“The problems inside the prisons are water, infrastructure, health and sanitation. Our role is to ensure that they can distribute the resources to address and respond to the problems,” said Roman Paramonov, the head of the ICRC’s Cambodia mission.

The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Prisons (GDP) deputy director, Lim Sokha, said: “There are many kinds of diseases at prisons, but communicable diseases, STDs, tuberculosis, AIDS, [and] skin disease are the biggest challenge”.

Sokha said he was unaware of the number of prisoners suffering from depression.

Chea Saret, head of the health office at the GDP, said that cases of tuberculosis were increasing gradually. In the first six months of this year, there were 191 prisoners infected with tuberculosis, compared to 214 for the whole of last year and 139 in 2016.

Meanwhile, she said that there was an increase in inmates testing HIV-positive – from 1.38 per cent in the first six months of last year to 1.52 per cent in the same period this year.

Ministry of Health secretary of state Te Kuy Seang said the ministry has been responsible for prisoners’ healthcare since 2010.

Choub Sok Chamroeun, the executive director of Khana, which is an NGO member of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance providing HIV prevention, care and support services in Cambodia, said that a strong collaboration and partnership between the GDP and NGOs has enabled the provision of quality care, support and treatment services to inmates.

This, he said, includes supplying life-saving medicines and helping inmates to know their HIV status and obtain prompt treatment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Lost in translation: ‘Starvation’ in capital’s designated red zones

    “DACH bay” is a Khmer slang meaning a “loss of income”, that could also be literally translated to «deprived of rice”, which alludes to starvation. However, civil society organisation (CSO) officials have independently confirmed the government’s prior assertions that there are no cases of