Bilibid deaths has reached critical level, says hospital chief
MANILA, Philippines – The deaths of inmates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) has reached its critical level, its hospital chief Dr. Henry Fabro said Wednesday.
“There is a universally accepted computation for PDL’s (Persons Deprived of Liberty) worldwide. We compute the percentage and right now we are on the critical condition,” Dr. Henry Fabro told reporters on the sidelines of the Asian and Pacific Conference on Prison Health held at New World Hotel in Makati City.
“The basic problem in the short stay that we had in the NBP, I think would be the hospital because it is poorly equipped. It is really poorly equipped,” he added.
Only 4 doctors
Fabro said at the NBP alone, they only have four doctors working on four shifts and 36-40 nurses assisting 27,821 Bilibid inmates.
The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) that operates seven correctional facilities including Bilibid has a total population of 47,326 PDL’s or inmates. Fabro said including the four doctors at Bilibid, “we only have 13 medical staff nationwide.”
“Imagine the PDLs we are handling,” he said.
“We are going to talk to Secretary of Health [Francisco] Duque to ask for doctors. They have a program ‘Doctors to the Barrios’ maybe they could give us some,” Fabro added.
Earlier, Senator Leila De Lima called for a Senate inquiry on the death of 29 PDLs in a span of 17 days at the national penitentiary.
TB, pneumonia deaths
Citing data from the BuCor, she noted that 10 of the PDLs died of contagious pneumonia and pulmonary tuberculosis, while 14 passed away from non-communicable illnesses.
Fabro could not confirm the figure but he said the common cause of death is myocardial infarction, stroke, chronic kidney diseases which he said requires dialysis.
He said most of the illnesses of the inmates if detected earlier could be cured.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he would order an investigation on the matter.
On the other hand, data from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology showed that the death rate of inmates is 300 to 800 per year.
Senior Inspector Paul Borlongan, BJMP Medical Officer said BJMP has a total population of 136,000 PDLs nationwide.
He said while they have the budget for medicines and would soon have a partnership with the Department of Health (DOH), he lamented that of the 478 facilities nationwide “we are only 12 as of now plus two psychiatrists.”
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