Egypt: First training for prison health staff on prevention, treatment and care of Non-Communicable Diseases 

Cairo, Egypt – 5 September 2021

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally. Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.9 million people annually, followed by cancers (9.3 million), respiratory diseases (4.1 million), and Diabetes (1.5 million). NCDs including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases, are currently the leading national causes of death in Egypt. Prisoners are at higher risk of noncommunicable diseases as NCDs share four critical behavioral risk factors: tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol, which also exist in major closed settings.

As a part of the project “Upholding the right of people living in closed settings in Egypt to health including primary health care services and voluntary confidential counselling and testing (VCT),” UNODC in partnership with the Egyptian Ministry of Interior (MoI) and the National AIDS Programme at  Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) conducted the first training for prison medical professionals, specifically 20 doctors, nurses, social workers and assistants at the Prisons Sector Training Center. The project is currently active in 10 prisons, namely Fayoum, Wadi Al-Natroon, Borg Al-Arab, Gamasa, Merg, Minia and Al-Kanater, Katta new prison, Abu Za'bal and Damanhour prison.

The participants actively participated and discussed with experts the prevention, treatment and care of most common NCDs. In addition, the training covered mental health problems in closed settings, including anxieties, depressions, bipolar disorders, addiction and detection of suicidal ideas and its prevention in closed settings.  The experts conducted interactive sessions about emergencies related to NCDs and their management using videos, brainstorming, and role play. Experts conducted the training sessions from MoHP, Egyptian and International Universities, including an expert from Australia and national and international UNODC experts, hence offering a unique and varied perspective to the substance.

The training was a crucial step towards having a holistic view of health in prisons by highlighting NCDs as a major health threat to prisoners' lives. The activity was generously supported by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

For more information:

UNODC work on health in prisons

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