IN its effort to wipe out tuberculosis (TB) and HIV in the region, the Department of Health (DOH)-Mimaropa (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) conducted a three-day mass screening among provincial and district inmates of Marinduque from October 10 to 12.
“As part of our effort to eliminate TB and HIV cases, it is important that all populations at risk must be screened. Mass screenings have been an effective strategy in reducing, and eventually eliminating, infectious diseases in jails and prisons,” Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo said.
There were 155 inmates screened at the Marinduque Provincial Jail; 14 from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Santa Cruz District; nine from the BJMP-Boac District; and eight from BJMP-Gasan District.
“It is also important that these confined areas must be disinfected and sanitized to eliminate harmful organisms and ensure that these infectious pathogens will not be transmitted to inmates. Everyone has the right to be healthy, even those confined in prisons,” he added.
Among the services provided were TB, HIV and mental-health screening to be able to assess inmates for possible substance- abuse disorder.
Janairo said the mass screening is needed to reach high-risk populations and facilitate the immediate and effective treatment of inmates with TB, HIV and mental-health disorders to lessen the growing incidence of these health concerns in penitentiaries.
Disinfection and sanitation of all cellblocks were also done to ensure that all prison cells are properly cleansed. Hygiene kits were also distributed to inmates.
“To effectively control TB and HIV, no one should be left behind. One missed inmate can infect others, their visiting families and even prison staff. That’s why early identification and successful management of persons with the disease is still the most effective means of preventing transmission,” Janairo added.
Inmates found positive of any of these diseases will be sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for confirmatory testing.
“They will also be given immediate treatment and preventive management,” he said.