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Uganda: ICRC hands over health project at Luzira Upper Prison

21-03-2012 News Release 12/55

Kampala (ICRC) – The ICRC today handed over a pilot health project at Kampala’s Luzira Upper Prison to the Ugandan authorities.

Over the last four years, inmates at Luzira Upper Prison have received treatment for tuberculosis, malaria or HIV/AIDS, and it was the resulting improvement in prisoner health that meant the ICRC could transfer the project to the Uganda Prisons Service.

The aim of the project was to help the Prisons Medical Services improve care for inmates with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. “We wanted services at Gulu, Fort Portal and Luzira Upper Prisons to be as good as those available outside and to be consistent with national policies," explained ICRC health programme manager Dr Fatah Labib.

“The project also provides the Uganda Ministry of Health with a tested, functional and cost-effective example of how to improve HIV, TB and malaria prevention and care that other prisons can copy,” added Dr Labib. Inmates undergo a medical examination on arrival in prison to check for pre-existing illnesses, particularly infectious diseases, to ensure that the prison provides appropriate management and care.

The project is the outcome of a 2006 study on health in Ugandan prisons, and its success is due to the cooperation and professionalism of the National Working Group launched in 2007, comprising the Uganda Prisons Service, the Ministry of Health and the ICRC.

Riccardo Conti heads the ICRC’s delegation in Uganda. “The ICRC was able to bring in a number of health service providers to support the Uganda Prisons Service,” he explained. “At Luzira Upper Prison, around 4,000 inmates benefited from the programme every year from 2009 to date. The ICRC and its partners have managed to reduce significantly tuberculosis and malaria in this prison, and have provided effective management and care for inmates with HIV/AIDS." Conti was upbeat about future trends: “We hope to announce similar improvements in prisoner health when we hand over the Gulu and Fort Portal sections of the same programme to the authorities in a few months’ time.”

The ICRC has been operating in Uganda since 1979, where the organization is carrying out tracing and reunification activities for refugees, monitoring the treatment of detainees, providing water and sanitation in conjunction with the Uganda Red Cross Society, promoting international humanitarian law and supporting its implementation.

For further information, please contact:
Adebayo Olowo-Ake, ICRC Kampala, tel: +256 77 222 19 94