Communicable diseases tend to be an issue in every correctional system, but health authorities alone are not able to address its prevention, identification and treatment. It consists in a challenging reality that requires a multifaceted approach.
Health protection in prisons is considered an essential part of public health. This idea – and specifically the issue of communicable diseases – has been operationalised by the Madrid Recommendation.
Both inmates and detention centers’ staff, are particularly at risk for communicable diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, due to their own vulnerability and to the characteristics of the environment. The prevalence of incarcerated people who use drugs, including injecting ones, is particularly high; such people are also particularly affected by viral hepatitis.
Transmission preventive measures are, therefore, essential in prison system settings but health authorities alone are not able to address communicable diseases’ prevention, identification and treatment, and here’s where we make our intervention, since the scope is multifaceted, with the requirements ranging from environment to prison management.
The optimization of prevention and treatment programmes requires the implementation of different measures, and, specifically, the roll-out of guidance notes and standard operating procedures, based on national and international guidelines, with all staff being trained in the prevention, treatment and control of communicable diseases.
We implement comprehensive solutions and programmes aimed at tackling the challenges communicable diseases pose in prisons and other detention institutions, namely:
- information, education and communication;
- guidelines on the hygiene requirements necessary for the management of these diseases in prisons and other infections and the prevention of nosocomial infections;
- prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections;
- prevention of sexual violence;
- drug dependence treatment;
- needle and syringe programmes;
- prevention of transmission through tattooing, piercing, etc;
- post-exposure prophylaxis;
- prevention, testing and counselling;
- treatment, care and support;
- prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV;
- vaccination, diagnosis and treatment of viral hepatitis;
- protection of staff from occupational hazards.