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519 Prisoners Diagnosed with Hepatitis C in Kutaisi Prison

06.08.2014

 
Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi

Since March 1st of 2014, free program for the treatment of Hepatitis C in penitentiary has been launched in the whole country. The cost of the medicines for treatment of hepatitis C has also been decreased since July 1st.

Humanrights.ge was interested in the process of implementation of this program in Kutaisi #2 prison where many prisoners diagnosed with Hepatitis C serve their sentences.

“The program is actively being implemented in our department. 4700 prisoners have gone through the inspection by now. 519 of them were diagnosed with hepatitis C. This program foresees both diagnosing as well as prevention and treatment of hepatitis C. 52 prisoners are involved in the process of treatment at this moment. This number might increase depending on the circumstances. There are some patients who cannot be subject to the treatment due to certain criteria at this stage. However, later they will go through additional inspection and the subsequent processes will be planned accordingly” – chief doctor of Kutaisi #2 penitentiary Nato Revishvili states with www.humanrights.ge

According to her explanation, the convicts as well as defendants and representatives of the prison administration are beneficiaries of this program. Everybody goes through the inspection, but only the convicts can receive the medical treatment within the program.

“Those who have two or three months left to serve, unfortunately, cannot be included in the program of treatment. As you know, treatment of this program is a long process and sometimes lasts a year or six months. Nobody knows what the prisoner will do after leaving the prison. It is also important that the program envisions monitoring of treatment process” – Nato Revishvili states.

Humanrights.ge also contacted the family of one of the prisoners who serves sentence in Kutaisi prison. 37-year-old G.A. is one among 52 prisoners included in the treatment program.

“The terrible regime existing in the prisons for years left incurable trace on all prisoners, including my son, both mentally and physically. This was accompanied by severe health problems (tuberculosis and hepatitis C) that took lives of numerous prisoners. It is good that the government is taking care of our children and has started free treatment program. You probably know that treating hepatitis C costs too much in our country and is unaffordable by many people. This is really special. Sometimes I do not believe that it is really happening,” – Natela Arabidze, mother of prisoner in Kutaisi #2 prison stated with humanrights.ge.

As for the prisoners who have 2-3 months left to serve and therefore cannot be included in this program, at this stage, they can benefit from the decreased prices on medicines. As for the future, the state has promised that it will take care of affordable treatment.

“The Ministry of Health has been working in this direction and there are promises that at the initial stage, the treatment will become affordable and for future it will become free-of-charge, like penitentiary departments. We will see what will happen. We, the local government, will take every effort to take effective steps and allocate certain money from the budget for this direction. At the initial stage we will take care of those who are socially vulnerable and do not have enough resources to fight this severe, though curable disease,” – head of Health and Social Issues Commission of Kutaisi City Council, doctor Temur Nadiradze states.

According to his explanation, one of the main priorities of Kutaisi local government is health and social sphere.  
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