New clinics in Insein Prison to be opened later this month: 3MDG

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FUNDED by Three Millennium Development Goal Fund (3MDG), a programme strengthening Myanmar’s national health system at all levels, newly constructed clinics in Insein Prison in Yangon Region will officially be opened later this month, according to a press release.
Also, plans are underway to implement construction of new clinics in Mandalay Prison within this year. The costs of construction of the healthcare facilities in Insein and Mandalay prisons are US$1.2 million.
This is part of the 3MDG’s healthcare programmes to offer better healthcare services to those in prisons nationwide. Under the programme, the 3MDG Fund has helped Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sports control communicable and non-communicable diseases in the country’s correctional facilities.
In a report of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, the number of inmates exceeded the space available in the country’s prisons. Overcrowding, poor ventilation and repeated prison transfers can create an environment, where infectious diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis and cholera can spread quickly causing fatalities.
There are approximately 90,000 prisoners in the country, with nearly half serving sentences for drug-related offences, said the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs, at the launching ceremony of Standard Operating Procedures for Health in Prisons.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Thandar Lwin, Deputy Director General of the Department of Health under the Ministry of Health and Sports, said, “Health in prisons is not only for the prisoners, but also for the community outside, since it is closely linked to communicable and non-communicable diseases. The Ministry of Health and Sports and the National AIDS Programme (NAP) are implementing HIV and TB screening in several other prisons, including Insein, Mandalay and Taunggyi.”
The country has a high rate of HIV-TB co-infections, which were responsible for around 4,100 deaths in Myanmar in 2014, out of the estimated 32,000 deaths for all TB forms. Myanmar has been ranked as a high-burden country for both TB and HIV incidences. According to the UNAIDS Programme 2017, HIV prevalence among inmates in Myanmar is 5.6 per cent.
As part of its plan, the 3MDG on Saturday opened new clinics worth $132,000 in Lashio Prison in northern Shan State. The new facilities will provide basic healthcare services, with a focus on treatment for tuberculosis. This was the second prison to undergo a refurbishment of its health facilities. The first was the Myitkyina Prison in Kachin State, which was handed over to the Ministry of Home Affairs earlier this year.

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