NPT labour camp inmates receive health check-up
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
Inmates from the Kin Tha detention centre are given a health check on October 29.