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

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,