Since 2001, HtW has been providing health care services in Haiti’s overcrowded, understaffed and under-equipped prison system. A primary focus of this effort is the identification, prevention, and management of infectious diseases, especially HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. TB testing is mandatory and about 5% of the children test positive for TB. HIV testing is voluntary and 3 of the 129 youth have tested positive for HIV; 10 tested positive for syphilis.
USAID partnered with Health through Walls to implement the Health Program to Reduce and Control Contagious Diseases. Through this program, we work with the Haitian Prison Authority to resume health care operations and establish sustainable programs at prison facilities following the January 12, 2010, earthquake. Successful pre-earthquake processes are being restored, while new challenges—such as reduced and damaged treatment areas, riots, and cholera outbreaks—demand urgent attention in the severely overcrowded facilities.
Health through Walls is conducting health screenings and supporting medical and sanitation programs ito reduce contagious disease in the National Penitentiary and Women‘s Prison and Children‘s Prison in Port-au-Prince. Hundreds of prisoners identified with HIV, tuberculosis (TB), cholera, and other conditions have been entered into care and treatment, reducing mortality and disease spread.
Activities conducted by Health through Walls include voluntary HIV testing, counseling, care, and treatment; training and support of teams of prisoners to conduct peer health education, as well as training of teams to maintain prison sanitation and hygiene; partnering with legal case management, Rural Justice Center, to mitigate health consequences of prolonged pretrial detention; continued successful working relationships with partner agencies to advance the prison health care program; and discharge planning for continuity of health care services for released prisons.
• Provide infectious disease screening for all prisoners;
• Improve access to TB and HIV testing, care, and treatment;
• Coordinate interventions for the prevention of cholera, TB, HIV, and other contagious diseases.
• Screened more than 1,000 prisoners for HIV/AIDS and more than 800 prisoners for TB at Haiti’s National Penitentiary.
• Effectively responded to the cholera outbreak by providing critical health services to prisoners to prevent outbreaks in the prisons.
• Inaugurated a new portable x-ray machine. The new machine can be set up in less than a minute and produce high-resolution images in less than 10 seconds, which can then be sent via the Internet to experts in the U.S. for accurate diagnosis of patients.