Clinical Complaints amongst Patients in a Guyanese Prison

  •  Raywat Deonandan    
  •  Jessica Lockhart    
  •  Brenna Mahony    
  •  Glenda Mindlin    
  •  Joanne Laine-Gossin    
  •  Nazmoon Audam    
  •  Louis Nel    
  •  Melissa Sissons    
  •  Bekkie Vineberg    


Background: Incarcerated populations are at particular risk for developing specific health conditions.  Prior studies of prisons in developing countries have focused on the threat of communicable diseases, though anecdotal evidence suggests that chronic conditions are of particular concern. This study constitutes the first published investigation of health complaints offered by residents of a prison in the South American nation of Guyana. Method: In 2010, a medical team sent by the Toronto non-governmental organization Ve’ahavta visited the Mazaruni prison in the interior of Guyana. Data on patient encounters was collected as part of the triage activity. Results: Care was given to 108 patients, staff and family members. Contrary to literature expectations, 50% of complaints concerned musculoskeletal issues, while only 11% were genitor-reproductive. Upon examination, 30.6% of patients were experiencing musculoskeletal problems, most commonly back pain. Conclusion: Future medical interventions to this and comparable low- and middle-income country prisons should more vigorously consider physiotherapeutic interventions, in addition to the expected addressing of infectious diseases.

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