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April 11, 2019

Malir Jail inmates donate blood for thalassaemia patients


April 11, 2019

Over 200 inmates, both convicted as well as under trial prisoners (UTPs) at District Jail Malir, waited in long queues on Wednesday to donate blood after the prison administration made an appeal for blood donation to save the lives of children suffering from thalassaemia and other blood disorders.

“Today we organised a blood donation camp at District Jail Malir where around 200 prisoners turned up to donate blood for children suffering from thalassaemia and other blood disorders. We collected 50 bags of blood as the majority of inmates were unfit to donate blood due to their health conditions and other issues,” said Dr Farhan Essa, convener of an Oversight Committee of District Jail Malir, while talking to The news.

With around 412 Indian fishermen, hundreds of drug addicts, juvenile prisoners and scores of hardened criminals languishing at the District Jail Malir, there are over 5,800 prisoners at the prison facility against the capacity of 2,400 prisoners, officials said.

The blood donation camp was organised by the Jail Oversight Committee headed by Dr Farhan Essa, who is the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Essa Laboratories in collaboration with the Patient Aid Foundation (PAF) of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) Karachi, which would provide the blood bags to children suffering from thalassaemia and other chronic blood disorders.

Dr Farhan Essa deplored that at a jail facility with 5,800 inmates, only a few prisoners were fit to donate blood as the majority of them were suffering from viral hepatitis, HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, drug addiction as well as other chronic diseases, but he vowed to bring all the available health facilities to the inmates at the Malir jail so that they could serve their sentences without health issues.

“This blood donation camp would benefit prisoners in two ways: first, they would be screened for five major diseases and if they are infected with any viral or bacterial diseases, we would be able to provide them proper treatment. Secondly, those donated blood would get one month’s remission in their jail terms.”

Prisoners who donated blood said they were voluntarily donating blood as this would help in saving lives of some innocent children who needed donors’ blood. They vowed to continue donating blood whenever they were asked for the donation of blood.

“We are also human beings and we feel that if we can help somebody with our blood, it is not a big deal,” said Abdul Ghaffar, an under-trial prisoner, who said he was facing trial on charges of theft.

Dr Farhan Essa claimed that there were dozens of prisoners at the Malir jail who had completed their sentences but they were still incarcerated as they were unable to pay the fines. He urged philanthropists and well-to-do segments of the society to pay the fines of prisoners to get these prisoners liberated.

He said hundreds of prisoners were facing multiple health issues, including skin diseases, as they were forced to live in overcrowded barracks. He added that he was trying to convince the prison department to construct multi-storey barracks so that prisoners could live easily, like humans.

“We would continue to hold blood donation and medical camps as well as psychiatric evaluation sessions in the prison so that prisoners could be helped. I would urge health organisations and bodies to come forward and help us in providing proper medical facilities to prisoners,” he added.

On the occasion, he also urged the government to release Indian fishermen who were being held at the jail without any charge, saying that due to his efforts, some 100 Indian fishermen had been released but there were still 412 fishermen at the jail.

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