Detainees all over the world would hopefully have better health conditions, as around 150 health care specialists from 21 countries discussed topics including health care for women and other vulnerable groups, mental health, drug addiction, and international standards for prison health, a press release from the International Committee of the Red Cross furnished to DNX said.
The participants, organized by the IRC ran from 13 to 15 of November and was held in Manila.
ICRC hopes that as a result of the conference, inmates – four million of which are in the Pacific and Asia – would enjoy better health care as a result of better coordination between prison management and health providers, as well as protection of their fundamental rights as humans.
“We’re all involved in providing care to people in custody. Coming to a conference allows us to find out what’s working in some places, what’s not working so well… share our experiences. The reason why we’re all here is to improve care for people who are in detention,” said participant Fiona Montroy, clinical nurse consultant of Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network in New South Wales, Australia.
ICRC regional specialist for the Asia and the Pacific Dr. Ziad Tohme stressed that prisoners, without discrimination, “deserve the same standards of healthcare as are available to the community”.
However, proper health care within detention centers could be a challenge, with systems saddled by poor coordination, lack of proper of policies and procedures, and inadequate health staff and facilities, Tohme said.
These are also aggravated by poor living conditions in many prisons across the world, leading to the spread of communicable diseases, the worsening of pre-existing conditions, as well as the contracting new ailment which could have been prevented through proactive health care and remedies such as proper food and nutrition, water, Tohme added.
The conference, Health Despite Bars, provided participants with a platform for health and detention authorities, academics and public health experts, to “share research and best practices, as well as challenges”.