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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin
 

Improving prisoner health through access to sterile injecting equipment

Date posted: 28 October 2013

Public health organisations are hopeful that prisoner access to sterile injecting equipment in the Canberra prison - an Australian first - has moved a step closer with the release of the Strategic framework for the management of blood-borne viruses in the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC). The document's release comes one year after the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Chief Minister announced the government's broad strategy for the management of blood borne viruses (BBVs) in the Alexander Maconochie Centre. Health groups today welcomed the release of the framework document.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Public Health Association of Australia, Michael Moore, said 'giving AMC inmates access to sterile equipment would deliver significant health benefits for prisoners and prison staff, and the broader community.'

Hepatitis Australia, CEO, Helen Tyrrell, said over twenty organisations had declared their support for regulated access to sterile injecting equipment, signing Hepatitis Australia's 2011 Consensus Statement on Addressing Hepatitis C in Custodial Settings. 'The only sensible approach to the prevention of hepatitis C and other blood borne viruses in any prison is to look at the evidence of what works; having done that, the ACT government has released an evidence-based strategy which includes regulated access to new injecting equipment,' Ms Tyrrell said.

The CEO of the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA), David Templeman, agrees. 'We have been edging towards the implementation of an evidence-based blood borne virus policy in the AMC for some time. Delays will mean further transmissions of hepatitis C, given the reported incidence of needle-sharing among the 65% of inmates in the AMC who have hepatitis C.

Source: Public Health Association of Australia

Contacts

Michael Moore
Chief Executive Officer
Public Health Association of Australia
Mobile: 0417 249 731

Helen Tyrrell
Chief Executive Officer
Hepatitis Australia
Mobile: 0413 454 257

David Templeman
Chief Executive Officer
Alcohol and other Dugs Council of Australia
Mobile: 0414 265 122

 

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Last updated: 28 October 2013
 
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