December 05, 2021 10:25 ET | Source: World Hope International World Hope International
Alexandria, Virginia, UNITED STATES
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dec. 05, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Pre-trial detainees and inmates of 20 overcrowded Haitian prisons across the country will be steadily receiving life-saving food support over the next three months through a joint relief effort by non-profits World Hope International, Rise Against Hunger, Health through Walls, and AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
Despite significant efforts by the international community, the proportion of pre-trial detainees in Haitian prisons has continued to grow and reached 82% of the overall prison population.
This situation has resulted in extreme overcrowding in most prisons, and detainees have limited access to the outdoors and to sanitation services. Due to irregular and insufficient supplies, the ~11,000 prisoners and detainees have extremely limited access to food, water, and health services across the prisons, often receiving less than one meal per day.
Malnutrition makes persons more susceptible to infectious disease, and once infected, more likely to have a poor outcome. Malnutrition also exacerbates chronic diseases. To respond to all these needs, the Haitian Prison Authority needs more capacity as per Dr. John May, HtW President.
In response to the crisis, Rise Against Hunger has committed 12 containers of food from across the United States to feed this population for three months. World Hope International will manage the logistics of transporting and importing the food into Haiti, and Health through Walls and AIDS Healthcare Foundation will distribute the supplies to the 20 prisons across the mainland.
“World Hope International has been operating in Haiti since 1996 and we just completed some similar logistics support for partners in response to the earthquake in August,” said John Lyon, World Hope International CEO & President. “We believe everyone should have access to food and other vital resources like clean water. We’re glad to be able to form this relief consortium with Rise Against Hunger, Health through Walls and AIDS Healthcare Foundation to ensure that these detainees and prisoners are getting the sustenance—and hope—they need during this difficult period of time in Haiti.”
“As the effects of August’s 7.2-magnitude earthquake, political unrest and increased turmoil have been felt across Haiti, Rise Against Hunger has been especially focused on supporting the food security needs of the Haitian people,” said Barry Mattson, Rise Against Hunger’s CEO. “During this time of crisis, in addition to supporting school feeding programs and communities affected by the earthquake, we are also supporting individuals in prisons across the country who only receive food sporadically. Access to food is a basic human right, and the meals provided by Rise Against Hunger will ensure that people in detention can have a consistent source of food. The joint efforts only underscore the complex nature of working in Haiti, and we are eager to collaborate with these organizations to meet this humanitarian need.”
About World Hope International
World Hope International addresses global poverty with sustainable, grassroots solutions that promote dignity and build opportunity and hope in the communities where it works. World Hope International responds to both acute crises and systemic challenges by partnering with local communities to implement the most sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions — initiatives that belong to the communities and are centered on their visions for a better future. World Hope International does this through strong partnerships who share its compassion for those who have been marginalized. Visit www.worldhope.org to learn more or follow World Hope International on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
About Health through Walls
Health through Walls (HtW) is a U.S. based 501(c)3 organization registered in Florida in 2005 whose mission is to assist developing countries in implementing sustainable improvements in the health care services of their prisons. A primary focus of this effort is the identification, prevention, and management of infectious and contagious disease, especially HIV and tuberculosis.
HtW collaborates Haiti’s Direction de l’Administration Penitentiaire (DAP) under the direction of the Haitian National Police (HNP) to identify needs and implement sustainable programs to improve the health, sanitation, and safety of the prison environment. These programs include medical screening, treatment, and discharge planning to improve the continuity of care upon release. This model has drawn admiration from other countries and HtW has received requests to have it replicated. Throughout the past 15 years, HtW has aggressively located funding for the prisons in Haiti to implement improvements in the diagnosing of infectious diseases, such as HIV and tuberculosis. Haiti’s prisons are among the most overcrowded in the world. Overcrowding contributes to the spread of infectious diseases through various pathways. First, overcrowding makes sanitation, maintenance, and safety more challenging. Poor sanitation spreads disease. Second, overcrowding strains resources and food supplies. Malnutrition plagues many in the prison system, particularly individuals without visitors or those unable to speak up for themselves. Visit https://healththroughwalls.org/ to learn more or follow Health through Walls on Facebook and Instagram.
About AIDS Healthcare Foundation
The Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is a global nonprofit organization providing cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to over 1,000,000 people in 43 countries. We are currently the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the U.S.
By advocating big goals–such as having 1 billion people tested each year–AHF hopes to eliminate older, more time-consuming methods. Since 1987, AHF has cared for thousands of people living with HIV and AIDS worldwide.
AHF became active in Haiti in 2006. AHF Haiti currently provides care to incarcerated populations in conjunction with another NGO, Health Through Walls. The incarcerated population is a very vulnerable population in Haiti, and AHF Haiti even provides care to people after their release from prison so there is no interruption in treatment. Partners of incarcerated HIV-positive individuals are also able to receive HIV testing so they too can know their status and be linked to care if necessary. AHF Haiti conducts mass testing drives focused on people visiting incarcerated Haitians in the national prison system to help identify those who are HIV-positive and link them into care. Additionally, AHF Haiti has a freestanding clinic in Port au Prince that provides testing and treatment services to the public.
Visit https://www.aidshealth.org/global/Haiti/ and https://tessidagratis.ht/ to learn more or follow AHF Haiti on Facebook and Instagram.
About Rise Against Hunger
Rise Against Hunger, an international humanitarian organization, is growing a global movement to end hunger by empowering communities, nourishing lives and responding to emergencies. With locations across the U.S. and five international offices, the organization provides immediate nourishment for those facing hunger today and implements sustainable solutions that will lift entire communities for years to come. Rise Against Hunger has facilitated volunteer meal packaging of more than 540 million meals to be distributed to countries around the world. To find out more about Rise Against Hunger’s efforts to end hunger worldwide, please visit www.riseagainsthunger.org.