Addressing Hepatitis B in Afghanistan Women Prisons

28 July 2016 - In Afghanistan, UNODC has supported provision of harm reduction services to women in prison since 2008. Hepatitis B testing and vaccination are important components of the harm reduction package.

Hepatitis B vaccination services targeting women in prisons started in July 2012, with financial support from the OPEC Fund for International Development  and Norway.

To date 3305 female prisoners have been tested for Hepatitis B and vaccination services provided to 3286 female prisoners. 

Globally, prisons are characterized by relatively high prevalence of hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus as well as diminished access to health services.

An estimated two out of every three prisoners with a history of injecting drug use are living with Hepatitis C.

The global response to hepatitis B and hepatitis C in prisons has been limited, with few countries implementing the necessary preventive interventions or providing treatment for Hepatitis C infected people in prisons.

In accordance with the UNODC, ILO, UNDP, WHO, UNAIDS policy brief, prisons should have a comprehensive hepatitis programme which includes the provision of free hepatitis A and B vaccination for all prisoners, interventions including harm reduction, to prevent, diagnose and treat hepatitis B and C. Access to health care services in prisons should be equal to those provided in the community.

Additionally, occupational safety and health procedures on viral hepatitis should be established for prison staff. They should receive information, training and protective equipment to perform their duties in a healthy and safe manner as well as free access to hepatitis B vaccination. 

Yury Fedotov, Executive Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime: Statement on World Hepatitis Day

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