Inside Prison Walls

Healthbeat 1998 No. 7.jpgHealthbeat 1998 No. 7.jpg

In June, 592 inmates in 11 jails in cities and municipalities all over Metro Manila reportedly developed boils due to the unhygienic and crowded conditions in the said jails. Most of these cases were from Quezon City Jail with 241 and the Parañaque City Jail with 141. The said boils appeared on all parts of their bodies, even on their faces. It was learned that the disease was caused by bacteria known as “staphylococcus aureaus” that thrived in hot, humid and dirty surroundings.

The overcrowding of prisoners was blamed for the spread of the disease. There were 1,330 inmates in the QC jail which was built to accommodate only 700. The same situation can be seen at Parañaque City jail that was originally designed to house only 150 prisoners but has 454 inmates at the time of the epidemic. Health authorities disclosed that poor ventilation, congestion and, lack of water supply and personal hygiene caused the outbreak.

The affected inmates were transferred, in batches, to the Metro Manila Rehabilitation Center to prevent other prisoners from contracting the disease.

At the height of the crisis, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) released P725,000 from its emergency fund for antibiotics and other medicine for boils. The same fund was used in buying electric and exhaust fans that were installed to provide ventilation in the congested jails.

Doctors from the DOH, BJMP and the Parañaque Health Division treated the inmates. The DOH also disinfected and fumigated all the jails in the metropolis to smoke out vermin and other parasites and insects that contributed to the spread of the disease.

Cases of boils also reportedly mushroomed in the jails of Manila, Las Piñas, Kalookan, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Malabon and Taguig.