Beating COVID-19 in the Prisons

Since people groups who are housed together are more vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19, prisoners are at high risk during this pandemic.

EHA community program staff heard that there were a high number of cases in the Guwahati Central Jail. Since they had offered services and programs in prisons before, they offered to come in and train prison officials, medical team members, and peer volunteers.

Pamphlets and signs were designed to inform about the ways COVID-19 is spread and about the symptoms of the disease. The peer volunteers met with other inmates to teach this information. A system for referral of suspect cases was put in place, as was the screening of incoming inmates. The number of cases dropped to zero, and no deaths have occurred.

The peer volunteers now help to facilitate testing, tracking, and referrals, and they are greatly appreciated by the prison authorities. One volunteer remarked, “We are fortunate to take part in fighting the COVID-19 issues inside the prison, and we will continue to do it confidently as we are now fully trained and equipped to take up our responsibilities.”

The trust and credibility EHA has built up with the prison authorities resulted in the full support of this program, which benefited everyone involved. An official explained, “We always welcome an organization like EHA which is always ready for good works, even in times of COVID-19.”