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

  • CNRP supporters rally in the streets of Tokyo

    Supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Monday rallied on the streets of Tokyo, demanding Prime Minister Hun Sen’s resignation and urging the Japanese government to “save democracy in the Kingdom”. Some 400 protesters in the rally, which was organised by

  • GMAC makes EU plea to consider job losses

    In a statement set to be published on Monday, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said the EU’s possible withdrawal of Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) access would harm 750,000 workers and three million families. The GMAC statement, seen by The Post on

  • Four dead in Preah Sihanouk, Ratanakkiri flooding

    At least four people have died and thousands of families affected by flooding in Preah Sihanouk and Ratanakkiri provinces following recent heavy thunderstorms. Preah Sihanouk provincial spokesperson Kheang Phearum said on Sunday that a Cambodian husband and wife were killed on Thursday when a concrete

  • LPG gas explosion injures 13 people, including foreigners, in Siem Reap

    An explosion on Wednesday at a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) car and tuk-tuk refuelling station in Siem Reap city has left 13 people, including an American and a Briton, suffering burns. The seven most severely burned, including a provincial police officer, were sent to a Thai