BJMP pushing measures to address jail health woes

Published April 22, 2018, 12:39 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Chito Chavez

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) vowed to push for more viable options to help address the health woes of its inmates this dry spell.

BJMP logo
BJMP logo

BJMP spokesman Senior Inspector Xavier Solda made the assurance as the BJMP has undertaken measures to combat the top10 diseases afflicting the inmates during the summer months.

The BJMP has a total of 145,476 inmates all over the country with a congestion rate of 601.91 percent, making all of them prone to the so-called summer illnesses.

Topping the list of diseases is the upper respiratory tract infection with 12,700 cases followed by hypertension where 9,651 inmates are affected.

Other common diseases inside the BJMP manned jails include allergic rhinitis (4,197), influenza (4,550), abscess (3,677); irritant contact dermatitis (2,820); scabies (2,633); acute gastro enteritis (1,595); asthma/bronchial asthma (1,241) and heat rash (1,090).

BJMP Chief Director Deogracias Tapayan has already prepared as early as December last year the procurement of all the desired medicines as the agency continues to address usual problem of water supply and ventilation.

At present, all wardens are in constant coordination with water suppliers like the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) in cases falling under the National Capital Region.

Solda cited the importance of water in every facility in this hot season as a tool to prevent any untoward incidents.

In previous cases, bloody riots among gangs were attributed to the humid situation triggered by cases of water interruptions and lack of ventilation especially in crowded jails.

Solda said the BJMP has regularly checked the waterlines and is in constant coordination with the with water suppliers to ease the water shortage woes in the jail facilities.

With the government’s intensified war against all forms of crime particularly illegal drugs, possibilities of more inmates landing in BJMP facilities are high.

Solda noted that the BJMP has prepared well with the expected increase in the number of inmates in the coming months particularly due to the government’s all-out war against illegal drugs.

Tapayan added that more jails will be constructed this year as part of the government’s decongestion program.

BJMP data from January to February 2018 revealed a 40-percent increase in medical consultations from the same period last year due overpopulation of jails.

However, Solda said the BJMP is prepared to handle inmates falling ill during the dry season.

Facility inspections are being routinely conducted which included the checking of ventilation and water lines, and the buying medical supplies.

The agency said it has already coordinated with the Bureau of Fire Protection for possible water interruption.

Also, the bureau said it has already identified the prisoners with illnesses, and monitored the conditions of pregnant and the elderly inmates.

Inmates with tuberculosis are also being monitored and isolation areas have been assigned to them.

The agency, with appropriate court orders, has also transferred prisoners to the Quezon City Jail annex and Manila City Jail annex as part of their solution to the congestion.

Solda admitted that roving doctors are needed but volunteers from public facilities and NGOs have offered help to address inmates’ health concerns.