Diabetes is among the top diseases plaguing prisoners at Yerawada jail, reveals the response to an Right to Information (RTI) query filed by The Indian Express.
The RTI reply shows that in 2016-17, 31 male convicts were treated for diabetes, as against 15 in 2015-16. In the same period, at least 10 woman convicts were treated for diabetes, and one woman prisoner died of a heart attack.
Prison authorities say they have been planning various strategies, to prevent and treat ‘silent killers’ like diabetes and hypertension. “Stress, anxiety and depression are quite common among prison inmates as they are separated from their families for a long period of time. We hold several stress relieving programmes, including yoga and meditation camps,” Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay, additional director general of police (prisons) told The Indian Express.
Jail authorities have also introduced the ‘gala bhet’ programme, under which convicts can freely meet their family members inside a hall in the jail premises. “One such programme will be held on Saturday,” Upadhayay said, adding that the scheme aims to encourage positive behaviour among inmates, and reduce friction between them and the prison staff.
Apart from diabetes, several inmates were also treated for skin-related ailments, said Upadhyay.
There are as many as 8,623 prisoners across 54 jails in Maharashtra, of which 8,226 are men and 397 women. The Yerawada Central Jail is a high-security prison, and among the largest in the country, with 5,100 inmates, including men and women convicts, as well as undertrials, according to U T Pawar, superintendent of Yerawada Central Jail.
The health report for the prisoners shows a ‘nil’ on diseases like dengue and chikungunya, and there was only one patient each in the men’s and women’s jail undergoing treatment for cancer.
While no deaths have been registered due to multi drug-resistant and extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis and AIDS, five persons had undergone treatment for TB and 15 for HIV in 2016-17, revealed the RTI response.
While Yerawada prison has four doctors, three compounders and psychiatric and nursing staff to provide healthcare, authorities have tied up with Sassoon General Hospital to avail of the telemedicine facility.
For the last six months, the facility has been provided for jail inmates and according to authorities, there were at least 10-12 prisoners who required daily visits to the out-patient department (OPD). The entire process was time-consuming and required additional security, said jail authorities.
From April till date, a total of 856 prisoners, from Yerawada jail in Pune and Kolhapur prison, have been treated via the telemedicine facility, said Dr Ajay Taware, medical superintendent at Sassoon General Hospital.
“Skin diseases are among the common problems. Not all lesions are complicated ones and hence via telemedicine, the doctor can recommend the next line of treatment for the jail inmate,” said Dr Taware.
To treat the prison inmates, an entire schedule has been chalked out, with each day of the week allotted to dental, orthopedic, skin, medicine and mental health-related issues.