Ombudsman Rolando Villena warned yesterday that about one thousand inmates at the San Pedro Prison in La Paz are infected with tuberculosis.
"We are very concerned about this situation. We are trying to make authorities and the general public aware so they can do something about it," he affirmed.
Villena commented that the sanitary situation is causing alarm at the prison. "This year four inmates have died from tuberculosis and we have reports that about one thousand inmates have the disease," he emphasized.
Members of the Council of San Pedro Delegates claim there is no medical attention at the prison, despite the fact that a government program provides free health care for people with tuberculosis.
Dante Escóbar, chairman of the organism, stated that prison authorities should request a medical brigade to enter the prison and analyze the sanitary conditions of the 1,976 people who live inside the prison including inmates, their spouses and their children.
"Most of the inmates have no resources. They are humble people. When one dies their families make no claims and autopsies are expensive. The dead are buried and everything ends there," said Escobar.
Jaime Torrico, a medical intern who worked for a foundation that provided care for the San Pedro prison inmates several years ago, explained that due to the sanitary conditions in the prison, all of the inmates should be given medication to fight parasitosis and that a study has never been done to determine the prevalence of AIDS among inmates.
As a result of crowding, it is feared there may be other diseases. The delegates ensured that the doctor assigned to the prison cannot attend to every inmate.
Inmates claim malnutrition is the main cause of these diseases.
Ombudsman Villena reported that as of next Thursday three workshops will be held to propose solutions to various problems in the national penitentiary system. Read more about San Pedro Prison here.
Source: El Deber - 20 Feb 2011 - Read this Article in Spanish.