Annual Health in Prison Steering Group Meeting 2016
The WHO/Europe Health in Prisons Programme Steering Group met in March 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal to introduce new group members and to set the agenda for 2016–2017. Attendees consisted of representatives of Member States, the WHO Collaborating Centre for Prison and Health (United Kingdom), and nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations.
Representatives of the Directorate General of Prison Services, Portugal presented the country's reintegration and prison service. Portugal faces the problem of a growing and aging prison population. To address the special needs of older prisoners, one goal of the prison health services is directly observed medication intake done by health care professionals.
The Steering Group discussed the new survey instrument on prison health, which had been piloted by Portugal and the United Kingdom earlier in 2016. Data from the survey will be used to create an online database on prison health, allowing comparison of the Member States, as well as between prison health and other health sectors. The survey will be sent out to Member States later this year.
Furthermore, the Steering Group deliberated over plans for the launch of the WHO European Prison Health Research & Engagement Network (WEPHREN), which will not only focus on conducting research and disseminating findings, but also on improving the health of prisoners and prison services across Europe. One of WEPHREN's main goals is to build up a network on the ground to make the work policy and practice relevant across the WHO European Region.