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Reference : V-P-PH-E-01070
Date : 11/03/2020
Country/Region : PHILIPPINES
Caption : Manila.Tuberculosis has been present for many years in detention facilities in the Philippines, where the conditions are favorable to the spread of the disease. Lessons learned from fighting tuberculosis help in dealing with the pandemic of COVID-19 affecting detention facilities.
Photographer : AZNAR, Jes
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : ICRC website, article, 24.03.2020, extract

COVID-19: Lessons from Philippines jails show how to fight infectious coronavirus disease
As COVID-19 focuses the world’s attention on infectious diseases, we have our eyes on one of the most dangerous places for the spread of such outbreaks: prisons, where densely packed people and (often) limited access to health care make for a risky situation.
Overcrowding, poor ventilation and infrastructures, deficient health, hygiene and sanitation conditions favours the spread of infectious diseases – whether the novel coronavirus COVID-19 or tuberculosis (TB) which can rapidly affect a large number of people inside detention facilities. While COVID-19 is caused by a virus and TB by bacteria, both may have devastating effects on vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with chronic diseases.
TB, for example, is known to be 100 times more prevalent in detention facilities than in the community. And based on the World Prison Brief database, the Philippines was ranked highest in the world in jail occupancy rate in their latest report. As of 19 March 2020, according to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), the congestion rate in their 467 jails is at 534 per cent.
Overcrowding has been a challenge for many years inside Philippines jails. (…)

"The side effects can be very challenging, and sometimes cause patients to discontinue treatment. These include nausea, headache, skin itching, body pains, stiffness, and at times, hearing loss. I lost my hearing in my right ear. Even if you fire a gun, I won't hear it. I also experience a lot of itching from drinking rifampicin. I don't regret undergoing treatment. Had I not taken my medicines, you won't be able to interview me anymore. I'd probably be dead already. My body felt like a lit candle that was slowly dying out." -"Carlo," inmate who was cured of TB. (...)
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