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Kuwait hosts conference on detainees’ health in Arab World

Kuwait role model in healthcare provided to detainees, says interior ministry official

KUWAIT: A group picture of the attendees at the conference. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: The first regional conference for Arab states on healthcare in detention kicked off yesterday at Radisson Blu Hotel under the slogan ‘Detainees’ health is our health.’ The three-day conference was held in collaboration with Kuwait’s ministries of interior and health. During his opening speech, assistant undersecretary for correctional institutions and law enforcement institutions at the ministry of interior Maj Gen Farraj Al-Zuabi said Kuwait is a role model in the healthcare it provides to detainees in correctional institutions.

“A prisoner in Kuwait undergoes a medical examination upon his arrival to the prison, and if he has a health issue, he will be separated and treated. There are specialized places to receive prisoners in Farwaniya Hospital and other specialized hospitals. Then the necessary work will be done to treat the patient, give him medications and check on his health throughout the day by the nursing team,” he said.

Zuabi pointed out that this conference is to get acquainted with the experience of correctional institutions in Kuwait in the field of healthcare for detainees, which is a model in comprehensive and diverse care on the health, food and psychological levels. Prisoners have been receiving healthcare and humanitarian aid in every aspect possible for years.

Assistant undersecretary for national medical services at the ministry Dr Fatima Al-Najjar, who represented the ministry of health, said: “We will provide full and human rights-compatible healthcare, and stress the support of comprehensive health cooperation between institutions.” She revealed a new hospital with a capacity of up to 128 beds at the Central Jail is currently being planned during a period in which Kuwait will witness a paradigm shift in the health sector.
Dorothea Krimitsas, deputy head of the regional delegation for GCC countries of ICRC, praised Kuwait’s choice to host the conference, noting that it is a role model in the field of healthcare provided to detainees and prisoners in correctional institutions. “Millions of people are in prison around the world. They deserve to be treated humanely. The ‘Detainees’ health is our health’ slogan here today is important to be remembered,” she said. Krimitsas said that ICRC goes all over the world to ensure proper treatment in prisons, and this allowed them to better understand the challenges faced by concerned authorities. “Part of our work is to collaborate with detainees and healthcare centers to improve their health conditions,” she added.

Amalid Chebly, regional healthcare in detention specialist in Middle East and Eurasia at ICRC, said 100 participants from 16 Arab countries are sharing their experiences and recommendations, and will be discussing topics in the field of laws and regulations of the health of prisoners in detention and women accompanied by children there. “On the last day of the conference, we will visit health centers, clinics and rehabilitation centers in Kuwait to see the experience of correctional institutions in Kuwait in the field of healthcare for detainees,” she said.

By Faten Omar

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