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90% of Prisoners Are Ill with Dangerous Infections but the Ministry of Public Health and Social Development Sets Aside of It

90% of Prisoners Are Ill with Dangerous Infections but the Ministry of Public Health and Social Development Sets Aside of It
18.08.2010
The State Office of Public Prosecutor brought report to the head of the Federal Service of Execution of Punishment Alexander Rejmer in connection with infringement of medical norms in the Russian pre-trial detention centers. According to the data of the State Office of Public Prosecutor, over 90% taken into custody and condemned persons have various diseases including socially significant - tuberculosis, hepatitis, HIV-infection. Thus conditions in which medical units are being held do not allow to organize medical process properly.

 

Because of imperfection of normative-legal regulations cases of refusals in medical aid to the condemned are widely spread. For five months of current year investigatory and judicial actions were postponed over 1 500 times because of unsatisfactory state of health of the accused.

 

Quality of health services rendered to condemned and taken into custody in the Russian detention centers can be raised, if prison medicine will be deduced from submission of service of execution of punishments, the leader of movement "For Human Rights" Lev Ponomarev considers.

 

"It is necessary to pass prison medicine from supervision of the Federal Service of Execution of Punishment under control of civil structure. Only thus it is possible to balance quality of health services of civilians with health services of people who stay in detention centers", - Ponomarev said on the air of radio station "Echo of Moscow" on Wednesday.

 

Rejmer himself noticed that he suggested to pass prison medicine under control of the Ministry of Health and Social Development but the ministry refused.

 


From editorial board: It's absolutely clear that if 90% of prisoners are sick of "social" diseases, prison medicine does not cope with its duties - and will not cope ever and under any circumstances.

 

Here a question "Why?" splits into two parts. The first one - what is it - prison medicine? Whether it can at all replace state system of public health services for "special contingent" totally? Certainly, no. Prison medicine is actually "makeweight" to the system of first aid for people who are in prison and owing to it not suitable for treatment in usual network. That is by definition its "public health services - light", as well as any departmental system.

 

The second question - epidemiology. Certainly, prison in itself is the factor promoting spreading of diseases. Staying in our detention centers already many years ago was qualified by the European legal experts as torture. Little has been changed for last years. Because of density, difficulty of diagnostics, a lot of other things.

There is one more moment: 90% of patients - it's nevertheless too much. Most likely, most part of patients gets into prison from outside being already ill. That is they appear in sight of public health services system for the first time only having got into prison. It is clear what contingent and from what social strata basically occupies our prisons but nevertheless...

Here we again face question to the general system of public health services, to the Ministry of Health and Social Development - how did they admit it?

Our medicine had no chance not to admit it having passed from preventive medicine to insurances, from active revealing of diseases by way of professional surveys and other preventive measures - to passive (under reference) one. It was inevitable. It was obvious to experts - and it's absolutely indifferent to reformers

That is 90% of sick of social diseases among special contingent - not only fault of prison medicine but also its "merit" on revealing of these diseases. That is, if to carry out total preventive physical examination among adverse social strata, disease figures will be, most likely, similar. It is already not departmental slip-up of the Federal Service of Execution of Punishment but, excuse me, national catastrophe.

Now let's put prison aside - let's recollect so-called "sobering-up stations" which public demands to pass under control of the Ministry of Health and, the main thing, the Ministry of Internal Affairs wants the same. While the ministry entrusted to cares of madam Golikova somehow does not hurry to charge itself with this burden. The ministry doesn't need it. It has just got rid of local hospitals and ambulance stations, having replaced them with medical assistant's points - by the way, for those social strata which get more often under the care of the Federal Service of Execution of Punishment.

Now it also refused to take prison medicine. It appears that except interests of a society we have own, independent interests of the ministries and departments and the society should reckon with the fact that interests of "servants of people" are very much different from interests of their nominal "owners".

The Ministry of Health now simply evades from participation in struggle against national catastrophe. It turns out to be funny - for not rendering of help to the patient separate doctor will be charged under corresponding article of the Criminal Code. Obviously, this norm doesn't reach officials of the ministry up to the minister, though here not separate patient but the whole society turns out to be victim. After all the ministry evidently evades from rendering assistance at least to one million citizens who are in jails.

Anatoly Baranov, editor-in-chief of FORUM.msk

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