A COVID-19 outbreak in a prison can be devastating both for the prison population and prison staff. This is especially true for overcrowded facilities where the health care system is overloaded. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) continues to support the Bangladesh Prisons Directorate to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prison facilities.
Three COVID-19 isolation centers (a 70-bed center in Keraniganj Central Prison, a 41-bed center in Feni District 2 Prison, and a 28-bed center in Kishoreganj District 2 Prison) have recently inaugurated by His Excellency Asaduzzaman Khan, the Minister of the Interior.
These centers are the result of close cooperation between the Ministry of the Interior (MoHA), the Directorate of Prisons, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and the ICRC.
Elaborating on the ICRC’s support to help set up COVID-19 isolation centers in three prisons, Katja Lorenz, head of the ICRC delegation in Bangladesh, said: âPrisoners are among the most vulnerable populations facing to the coronavirus pandemic. is essential so that prisons can separate those who have caught the virus from the rest of the prison population. “
âOur support included the design and establishment of the centers and the provision of technical support to establish guidelines and implement infection prevention and control measures. We also provided basic medical and sanitary equipment as well as furniture.
Brigadier General Md Mominur Rahman Mamun, Inspector General of Prisons, said: âThe Prisons Directorate has been working constantly since the start of the pandemic to develop an effective and comprehensive system to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons. These constant efforts involve all staff in the Prisons Directorate, from headquarters to prison guards. “
âThis work was supported by different partners (including MoHA, MoHFW and ICRC) present from the start and actively involved in various projects such as training sessions on precautionary measures against COVID-19 for prison staff , the regular distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the 68 prisons and the renovation and establishment of three isolation centers for inmates with COVID-19. “
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh in 2020, the ICRC has worked with the Prisons Directorate to identify the most important needs in the response to the pandemic in prisons.
We have provided continued support to the Directorate of Prisons to assist both detainees and prison staff, including, in 2021, providing PPE to some prisons and at the Headquarters of the Directorate of Prisons. We are currently setting up additional assistance for the 68 prisons in Bangladesh (as requested by the Prisons Directorate) in response to the latest wave of the pandemic.