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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Jail authorities turn blind eye to inmates' health

Jatinder Kohli , Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, December 20, 2013
First Published: 22:31 IST(20/12/2013) | Last Updated: 22:32 IST(20/12/2013)

Even after the death of an HIV positive prisoner at the local civil hospital recently, the jail authorities seem to have learnt no lesson from the incident.

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The health department has written several times to the jail authorities for timely treatment of the HIV patients in jail but their advice has fallen on deaf ears.

The jail authorities do not send prisoners to the local ART Centre on time which leads to delay in treatment of the patients.

The 22-year-old prisoner Sukhwinder Singh, a resident of Katehra Mohalla, died during treatment at the local civil hospital. The officials at the hospital were informed two days before his death that he was affected with AIDS.

Sources in the health department said that Singh got infected with the HIV through a syringe.

His tests were to be held on December 24 but he died on December 18 after prison authorities reportedly failed to inform about his HIV status to the hospital.

Sources in Punjab AIDS Control Society said that the jail authorities had become totally insensitive towards the treatment of HIV patients as they did not send the patients on time for test at the ART centre.
Most of the time prisoners have to go back without going through tests hence they fail to get right treatment on right time.

Sources said that they had written to the jail authorities several times to send the patients at 9am for timely tests but to no avail.

Jail inmates usually arrive at the hospital around 12 pm owing to which it becomes difficult for the hospital staff to arrange medical tests for the latter.

Sources said that whenever there is a state-level meeting of Punjab State Aids Control Society, senior health officials discuss about the “irresponsible” behaviour of the jail officials.

When contacted, assistant project director, Punjab AIDS Control Society, Dr Manpreet Chatwal, said that the jail authorities always gave reason of security of prisoners but now they had mobile medical units for tests for HIV patients.

She said that society would write to the Punjab Health Systems Corporation to probe the death of Sukhwinder Singh.

Meanwhile, state health minister Surjit Kumar Jayani said that an inquiry would be conducted into this incident and strong action would be taken against the erring persons.

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