Efforts underway to prevent Covid-19 spread in prisons: Red Cross
The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) in Bangladesh is working together with the Prison Directorate and the Ministry of Home Affairs to enhance the preparedness of the 68 prisons across the country in the face of a possible outbreak of Covid-19, the ICRC said in a statement today.
It has also started implementing infection prevention control measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus in the prisons. The first batch of such materials was handed over to prison authorities on Thursday, 02 April 2020 at the country's central prison in Keraniganj.
Given how crowded prisons are, and the high infection rate of coronavirus, detention facilities in general are particularly vulnerable when it comes to preventing and containing infectious diseases. An outbreak of Covid-19 in a prison could have devastating effects on the population, especially in an overcrowded prison where healthcare system is weakened.
Simona Cervi, ICRC Bangladesh Detention Team Leader, said today, "We aim to support the prison authorities with recommendations on how to improve the response of coronavirus, and direct support to ensure that a comprehensive response to face the outbreak is put in place, in line with the ICRC guidelines and National Preparedness and Response Plan for Covid-19 in Bangladesh."
According to the ICRC statement, standard operating procedures (SOPs) will be adopted in the prisons both for the primary medical response while ensuring and enforcing compliance with Infection Control and Prevention and hygiene promotion. Additionally, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) volunteers would be involved in training the key staff of the prisons; and the newly trained staff would pass on the information to other employees, the detainees and the visitors. It is expected that every jail would be capable of autonomously putting in place the COVID-19 response measures as agreed with the authorities.
The Inspector General (IG) of Prisons Brigadier General AKM Mustafa Kamal Pasha welcomed ICRC's assistance in preventing infections relating to COVID-19. "We look forward to ICRC's continued support and cooperation for prisoners' health care in future as well".