After the previous Health Assistant Sakshya Ghimire stationed at Tanahun prison was transferred during the civil service adjustment process last year, the prison has been without any health worker for one year now.
Jailor Narayan Prasad Adhikari said the post of healthcare worker has remained vacant ever since Ghimire was transferred to another rural municipality.
He said that they were facing difficulties in providing health related services to the prisoners due to lack of health workers.
“We have to rush the jailbirds to Damauli Hospital for treatment in case of major ailments or emergency,” he said.
According to Adhikari, even after frequent requests to the authorities concerned, a health worker for the prison has yet to be managed.
“Prisoners with minor illness needs to be taken to Damauli Hospital for treatment,” Ghimire said, demanding the problem to be resolved pronto by authorities concerned.
The Office of the Attorney General on May 14, 2019, had emphasized the urgent need to improve the living conditions of inmates to ensure their dignity. The Office’s monitoring report had revealed that prisons across the country were overcrowded and lacked basic care for prisoners.
The initial assessment was based on their findings from prisons, police cells and juvenile detention centres in 24 districts.
Though the Office as well as various human rights organizations have repeatedly sent recommendations to the government for timely intervention in the living conditions of prisoners, the government has turned a deaf ear to the matter.
Prisoners in most of the jails across the nation are struggling for dignity and timely health care, simply because of overcrowding and the conditions of detention are extremely poor.
Nepal’s Prison Act was formulated more than six decades ago (Nepal Prisons Act 1962), followed by several amendments. However, none of the provisions in the Act has been effectively implemented while many await further amendments.
At present, the Department of Prison Management governs the management and administration of prisons at central level and the Chief District Officer is responsible for local levels. This implication challenges the fundamental principle of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) demanding the urgent need for prison reform in Nepal.