Prison officials said yesterday heart ailments, stroke and chronic kidney diseases remain the top cause of death among prisoners.
New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Hospital chief Henry Fabro said a shortage of doctors assigned to the prisoners worsens the problems at the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa City.
"We cannot confirm the exact number of TB – tuberculosis - patients who died, but right now the number one cause of death is myocardial infraction, that is heart attacks, and varied causes including strokes and chronic kidney disease. By chronic, mean those who undergo dialysis that has the endpoint of needing a transplant," Fabro said.
Servicing 19,000 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), Fabro said, are only five doctors at the NBP Hospital, who are a part of 13 members of the Bureau of Corrections’ (Bucor) medical staff nationwide and who are assisted by around 40 nurses.
He said they conveyed this concern to BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag and to the DOH.
"In the maximum security area, we have at least 18,000 PDLs, and we only have four doctors,and five doctors in the hospital. To think that the hospital is not that well equipped to manage those kinds of problems, that is why we are asking the Department of Health to help us with additional doctors or to help acquire equipment for the hospital," he said.
The ill-equipped hospital has set the NBP at a critical rate in terms of deaths of PDLs throughout the years.
Meanwhile, in jails operated by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) under the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the ratio of full-time physicians compared to the detainee population is worse.
Those detained at the BJMP jails are PDLs with pending cases before the courts.
Senior Inspector Paul Borlongan, BJMP Medical Inspector, said that in all jails operating nationwide, the PDL population of more than 136,000 suffers a low of 300 to 800 PDL deaths a year.
"The causes of death are non-communicable diseases, hypertension, heart attack, brain attacks," Borlongan said.*PNA
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