From September 22nd – 24th, UNODC organized a Training on the Updated Comprehensive Package of HIV intervention, prevention, treatment, and care among people in prisons and other closed settings, in Odesa, Ukraine.
The Comprehensive Package has been updated in 2020 jointly by UNODC, ILO, WHO, UNFPA, UNAIDS, and UNDP to help countries prevent the transmission of these infectious diseases in prison settings and to provide adequate care for those infected. It consists of fifteen key interventions, organized into five sections, which are essential for effective testing, prevention, treatment, care in prisons and other closed settings. The Package is based on the best available scientific evidence and takes into consideration the principles of international law and standards, international declarations and guidelines governing the treatment of people held in prisons and prison health, as well as international standards on HIV programmes, medical ethics, and labour standards. The Comprehensive Package also includes additional interventions which should not be overlooked, as they are also critical to support prevention, diagnosis, and treatment programmes. These additional interventions include adequate nutrition, including supplements for people with HIV or TB, mental health programmes, intimate visit programmes, social protection services, palliative care, and compassionate release for terminal cases.
The country delegations committed to inform stakeholders of the updated Comprehensive Package, update existing national policies and strategies, conduct relevant research in order to inform policy and strategy, engage in advocacy work with ministries and NGOs, and in fundraising, assess how to improve healthcare systems, ensure financial and staff resources for prevention and treatment in prison settings, adequately train prison staff including health care staff, develop IEC materials for people living and working in prison, improve monitoring systems for prison settings, consider alternatives to imprisonment to reduce overcrowding. Furthermore, it was agreed to collaborate on developing a publication covering data on rates of HIV, TB, viral hepatitis and STIs in the general population and among prison populations; prison occupancy rates; prison reform; available health care services in prison settings; innovations, challenges and opportunities in providing quality prevention, testing, treatment and care services for infections including for COVID-19.
The training sparked and interesting discussion, valuable exchange of country data and experiences and proved valuable to facilitate the effective and streamlined application of the Package globally.