About Us: OVERVIEW

 

"The health of prisoners around the world has consequence for all of us. Infectious diseases respect neither the borders of prison walls, nor the borders of national shores. Adequate prisoner health not only controls infectious disease, but also contributes to safe, secure, and humane institutions - part of establishing a society of justice, prosperity and peace. We are proud of the steady progress toward that end, and our role in improving life for individuals and communities."
- John P. May, MD, Founder & President, Health through Walls

 

Health through Walls (HtW) is a not for profit organization registered in the state of Florida in the United States. HtW works in partnership with correctional administrations and health care staff of developing countries to assist their efforts in delivering effective and quality health care in their prisons. HtW works to implement sustainable and replicable models in the delivery of prisoner health care. Our primary focus is the identification, prevention, and management of infectious disease, especially HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

Several of these systems are severely overcrowded, have a high burden of disease, and lack sufficient resources. The work of HtW involves providing direct patient care services to prisoners, technical assistance, staff training, medicine, policy review, resource collection and donation, establishing laboratory services for the diagnosis of tuberculosis, HIV testing, conducting needs assessments, providing resources, training nursing staff in health assessments, intervening to lessen the effects of beriberi and malnutrition in the prisons, facilitating meetings between stakeholders, and providing equipment and supplies to facilitate improved health care delivery, developing systems of disease screening and medical triage, securing educational and material resources, and building alliances with community organizations.

HtW works with all stakeholders to find solutions to the health needs of prisoners. HtW advocates for community responses and resources to address the health issues for prisoners that ultimately impact public health. Since 2001, HtW has been providing services in Haiti's national prison and expanded to provide services in the prisons in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, the African countries of Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, South Africa, and Ghana as well as in Romania in Europe.

   

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Inside Haiti's national penitentiary, Jean Alusma, HtW Peer Educator Trainer, teaches prisoners communications skills for their new role as HIV, STD, tuberculosis peer educators to their fellow prisoners.


The first day of the massive undertaking to offer HIV, tuberculosis, and health screenings to all 8,000 prisoners at La Victoria Penitentiary in the Dominican Republic drew dozens of media to interview local and international partner organizations as well as the Ministry of Health and prison authorities.


HtW and all participating organizations and government agencies received training prior to start of project offering HIV, tuberculosis and health screenings to all 8,000 prisoners at La Victoria prison in the Dominican Republic.


HtW staff conducts health screening interview of prisoner in one of Haiti's national prisons.

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