Birgunj inmates deprived of proper treatment, careInmates at Birgunj Prison are deprived of proper treatment and care as the Department of Prison Management has not deployed any medical officer in the prison, according to social activist Prakash Tharu.
Inmates at Birgunj Prison are deprived of proper treatment and care as the Department of Prison Management has not deployed any medical officer in the prison, according to social activist Prakash Tharu.
There is a post of a medical officer in the prison but the post has been vacant for the past decade. Tharu has demanded the authorities to immediately deploy medical officials in the prison and manage the treatment of sick inmates.
Every year, prisoners—mainly the elderly and chronic patients—die in the prison due to a lack of proper and timely treatment.
Seventy-four-year-old Dipan Sah, who was serving a term at Birgunj Prison, fell ill on July 19, 2018. Sah, a chronic patient of high blood pressure and asthma, died on his way to a hospital.
Another inmate Chandra Bahadur Theeng, 35, fell ill on March 29, 2018. He died in the course of treatment in Narayani Sub-Regional Hospital in Birgunj the same day. Two other jailbirds—Ram Ayodhya Bhagat Mali, 70, and Rama Thakur, 56—died in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Both of them died of renal ailments.
Human rights activists say the ailing inmates are deprived of proper treatment and care in the crowded prison. They claim that the prison administration takes the sick inmates to a hospital only when they are in a critical condition. The prison administration has been charged for its lackadaisical and late response to provide proper treatment to sick prisoners.
However, Ganesh Bhandari, information officer at the prison, claimed that the administration takes prompt action to take sick inmates to a hospital. “We take the sick prisoners to the sub-regional hospital first. We even take them to Kathmandu and Chitwan if they are referred accordingly,” he said. He admitted that the sick inmates face problems as they do not have a medical attendant at the prison.
Birgunj Prison currently houses around 1,200 inmates. According to Sikandar Yadav, medical leader at the prison, there are 80 inmates with a high blood pressure and 32 with diabetes. “There are seven asthma patients while four are infected with HIV/AIDS. One each suffers from TB and hepatitis,” he added.