NPT labour camp in­mates re­ceive health check-up

The Myanmar Times - - News - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­times.com

OF­FI­CIALS from the De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health in Nay Pyi Taw have vis­ited the nearby Kin Tha de­ten­tion cen­tre for a sec­ond time this year in or­der to pro­vide med­i­cal treat­ment to in­mates.

“We pro­vided med­i­cal treat­ment to 330 of the to­tal 888 pris­on­ers at the de­ten­tion camp ... Pro­vid­ing med­i­cal treat­ment at this fa­cil­ity is part of the govern­ment’s sec­ond 100-day plan,” said Dr Hla Hla Kyi, di­rec­tor of the Nay Pyi Taw Pub­lic Health De­part­ment.

Kin Tha is a labour camp that pri­mar­ily op­er­ates as a quarry. In­mates are as­signed to work in the quarry or on one of the site’s vegetable plantations.

Ac­cord­ing to Daw Hnin Phyu, a nurse who par­tic­i­pated in the Oc­to­ber 29 check-up, the pris­on­ers mainly com­plained of back pain and poor eye­sight.

“Forty-one pris­on­ers reg­is­tered to get spec­ta­cles. They want them as their eye­sight is get­ting worse or is be­ing dam­aged in their work­place,” she said.

A num­ber of in­stances of more se­ri­ous diseases, such as HIV or tu­ber­cu­lo­sis, were also iden­ti­fied, said Daw Sein Mya, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of plan­ning and health data.

“When we found a pris­oner suf­fer­ing from a dis­ease dur­ing our check-up, we sug­gested to the prison of­fi­cials that they keep these pris­on­ers iso­lated from the rest of the cen­tre’s pop­u­la­tion ... Pris­on­ers who are HIV-pos­i­tive are trans­ferred to Yame­thin prison where ART [an­tiretro­vi­ral ther­apy] is avail­able,” said Dr Myo Min Oo, head of the HIV/ STD preven­tion team.

Dur­ing the de­part­ment’s first visit to the prison in July, they found one pa­tient with lep­rosy, though no fur­ther cases were iden­ti­fied this time around.

“When we vis­ited the de­ten­tion cen­tre for the first time, we found a pris­oner suf­fer­ing from lep­rosy which was so far ad­vanced that the man had nearly lost his nose. We treated him and now he is do­ing far bet­ter,” said Dr Hla Hla Kyi.

In or­der to en­sure in­mates are re­ceiv­ing ad­e­quate med­i­cal treat­ment, the de­part­ment plans to re­turn to the Kin Tha de­ten­tion camp ev­ery three months to con­duct large-scale check­ups, Dr Hla Hla Kyi added.

In ad­di­tion, the de­part­ment will also hold a num­ber of ed­u­ca­tion cour­ses for in­mates on the dan­gers of drug use, food safety, and will give tips on how to stay healthy dur­ing the win­ter.

The de­ten­tion cen­tre’s war­den, U Khin Maung Tint, said his staff face dif­fi­cul­ties in deal­ing with in­mates with con­ta­gious diseases at his fa­cil­ity.

“If we find a pris­oner with a con­ta­gious dis­ease, we trans­fer them to Yame­thin Prison where there is a prison doctor and they are given treat­ment there. We are just a de­ten­tion cen­tre and we have dif­fi­culty iso­lat­ing sick in­mates. In prison, there are cells and rooms where peo­ple can be held sep­a­rately,” he said.

“Af­ter the de­part­ment’s first checkup we trans­ferred 12 pris­on­ers to Yame­thin. This time we have not yet trans­ferred pa­tients with con­ta­gious diseases as we are await­ing ap­proval. This checkup found three HIV-pos­i­tive pris­on­ers.”

The de­part­ment is next sched­uled to visit the Kin Tha de­ten­tion camp in Jan­uary.

– Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun

Photo: Sup­plied/NPT Pub­lic Health De­part­ment

In­mates from the Kin Tha de­ten­tion cen­tre are given a health check on Oc­to­ber 29.

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