Safeguarding Prison Health during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Safeguarding Prison Health during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Appeal from health care and public health professionals to Chief Justices of High Courts and High Powered Committees of states and Union Territories

Friday, June 18, 2021

Dear friends and colleagues,

We are approaching you to consider endorsing the below appeal addressed to Chief Justices of High Courts across the country and High-Powered Committees (HPCs) constituted by states and Union Territories (UTs) as per the Supreme Court of India order dated March 23, 2020 (Re: Contagion of COVID 19 Virus in Prison [Suo Motu Writ Petition (Civil) No.1/2020]) towards decongesting prisons.  Because the efforts made so far are inadequate, especially against the backdrop of ravaging second wave of the pandemic, we are demanding immediate attention of High Courts and HPCs to do the needful, amongst other, consider health related and other wide-ranging vulnerabilities as determining factors for consideration of release of prisoners.

Please read the appeal /letter below. For an overview of the issue at hand, you may refer to a brief note. 

Please access Google Form here for your endorsement. 

Kindly send your endorsements by 21.06.21 (Monday) 7 PM.

Thank you.

Forum for Medical Ethics Society (FMES); and

Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA)


In view of this, we urge HPCs across all states and UTs to take urgently the following steps:

  •       Include medical professionals, medical social workers, public health professionals, health department officials and relevant civil society organisations in these Committees to facilitate and monitor the release of prison inmates.
  •       Urgently convene to discuss and modify the categories of prisoners to be considered for release, giving priority to the health status of the prisoners, especially the under-trial prisoners (UTPs).
  •       Use the criteria of age and vulnerability across prisoners and treat everyone equally irrespective of charges/offense; and release those who are thus eligible, subject to their consent.
  •       Ensure that all health facilities, such as, testing, contact tracing and treatment are available, by linking up with local hospitals from public and private sectors, for safeguarding health of the prisoners who are not released, to ensure their access to timely and dignified health care.
  •       Take this opportunity to ensure speedy trials, granting of bail and releasing those who have been granted bail.
  •       Categorise prisoners as one of the priority groups for vaccination and offer vaccination to all prisoners in a safe and non-coercive manner.
  •       Given the hesitation among some prisoners to return to their homes due to fear of hunger and poor living conditions, ensure that the released prisoners and their families have timely access to medical care and relief measures such as food rations, and are not denied entitlements under national and state programmes.;
  •   Utilize this opportunity to prioritize improvement of prison conditions and implement long overdue prison reforms: such as increasing budgets for prison health facilities, improvement of the living conditions in prisons, and appointment of requisite medical and other staff, for protecting life, liberty and dignity of prisoners.

கோவிட் தொற்று இரண்டாவது அலை குறித்து மக்கள் நலவாழ்வு இயக்கத்தின் அறிக்கை – மே 2021

நாடு ஒரு மோசமான சூழலை கடந்து கொண்டிருக்கின்றது. பல நகரங்களில் நோயாளிகள் மருத்துவ மனைகளில் படுக்கை வசதியும், ஆக்சிஜனும் இதர மருத்துவ வசதிகள் கிடைக்காமல் அவதியுறும் நிலை எழுந்துள்ளது. பரிசோதனை அறிக்கை கிடைப்பது தாமதமாகிக் கொண்டிருக்கின்றது அதே நேரம் மயானங்களில் பிணங்களை எரிக்க நெடுநேரம் வரிசையில் நிற்கும் நிலையும் இருக்கின்றது.

இந்த சூழலில் மக்கள் உடல் நலத்திற்காகவும் அதனை அடிப்படை உரிமையாக்க வேண்டும் என்பதற்காகவும் இயங்கும் அகில இந்திய அளவிலான மக்கள் நல்வாழ்வு இயக்கங்கமும், இதர சமூகநல இயக்கங்களும் மத்திய அரசையும் மற்ற மாநில அரசுகளையும் தங்களின் கடமைகளிலிருந்து பிறழாமல் அவற்றினை மக்களுக்குக்கு அளிக்க கீழ்கண்டவாறு வலியுறுத்துகின்றன.

  • மக்களின் உடல் நலனையும் உயிர்களையும் காப்பாற்றும் முழு பொறுப்பினை அரசுகள் ஏற்கவேண்டும் – இப்போதே!
  • அனைவருக்கும் சுகாதார உரிமை கிடைப்பதையும், நோயைக் கட்டுப்படுத்துவதையும் அனைவருக்கும் தடுப்பூசி போடப்படுவதையும் உறுதிசெய்ய உடனடியாக நடவடிக்கை எடு!


Download PDF: MNI_COVID2nd wave_Demandsstatement_release



Governments, fulfill obligations to protect peoples health and lives – NOW!
Act urgently to ensure rights to healthcare, containment and vaccination for all!

Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), India’s national network of civil society organizations and people’s movements working for health rights, demands that Central and State governments must fulfill the following obligations and put in place processes to ensure that these are urgently fulfilled.

Anticipating and preventing the third wave: JSA cautions the government that even if the second wave begins to decline in the coming months fulfilling the above obligations and implementing the above policy changes is urgently required.


JSA statement COVID second wave- May-10 _Full English

JSA_COVID Press Statement_May10_Hin

JSA_COVID Press Statement_May10_Eng


JSA Delhi Letter to Union Health Minister on Urgently expediting distribution of oxygen generators, oxygen concentrators, ventilators and other Covid relief materials

Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Delhi (JSA, Delhi) is extremely concerned about the current surge in Covid 19 cases across the Country, particularly in the National Capital Delhi. Delhi is facing a crippling shortage of oxygen particularly with the non-availability of Oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders and the availability of oxygen beds. Families of patients are running from pillar to post for oxygen cylinders and to refill the oxygen for many hours standing in the queue. It is a matter of extreme anguish and despair that in spite of so much life-saving equipment available since the past ten days, yet some of it could not be handed over to hospitals even in the capital city of Delhi, where hundreds of people continue to die each day due to lack of oxygen. In fact, it is a case of criminal mis-governance.

JSA expresses its distress at this situation and appeals to the Union Health Minister to expedite, without any further delay, the distribution of the large number of oxygen generators, oxygen concentrators, ventilators and other Covid relief materials that have been arriving in the country in the past ten days.

JSA reiterates that Health and Healthcare are basic human rights which must be treated as top most political priority by the government, immediately expediting the distribution of oxygen generators, oxygen concentrators, ventilators and other Covid relief materials, so that no time is lost in saving precious lives.

Read the Letter here – JSA Delhi Letter_MoHFW_Oxygen and other Essential Medical Supplies

letter seeking the issuance of Compulsory License for TB Drugs

JSA would like to extend our support to filed before the High Court of Bombay seeking issuance of government use Compulsory Licence for two anti-TB drugs — bedaquiline (Bdq) and delamanid (Dlm). We urge the Indian government to ensure uninterrupted supply of these medicines to every needy TB patient in the country by taking active steps to issue such a license.

read the letter- click here

In Solidarity with Farmers’ Agitation: Findings from Rapid Assessment of Basic Amenities at Protest Sites by JSA Delhi & Haryana

In support of the ongoing Farmers’ Protest to repeal the three Farm Laws enacted by the Centre, the Delhi and Haryana chapters of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan conducted a rapid assessment of basic amenities at the protest sites. The objective of the rapid assessment was to highlight concerns of the protesters and put forward their demands to the Central government, various State governments, local bodies and other concerned authorities to ensure adequate and good quality sanitation, water supply, solid waste management and health facilities at all the protest sites. This report is the synthesis of a survey of participants in various protest sites and field observations of JSA volunteers.

Read the REPORT 

Read the PRESS RELEASE (English)

Joint statement on issues in Aarogya Setu & similar digital apps

Joint Statement on Technical, legal, ethical and implementation concerns regarding Aarogya Setu and other apps introduced during COVID-19 in India

by Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF),Forum for Medical Ethics Society (FMES), and All India People’s Science Network (AIPSN)

We, the four signatory networks of organizations of public health advocates, experts in digital privacy,
science and technology policy advocates and other stakeholders issue this Statement for generating public understanding and for submission to the Government of India (GoI) and concerned Union Ministries – Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEIT), and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW) – about our deep concerns regarding the Aarogya Setu (AS) and other similar Apps related to the novel Corona virus epidemic. We are deeply concerned about violation of privacy, and compromised ethical principles and values, due to the AS App‟s design, its deployment, related policies regarding data storage, preservation of privacy and data sharing, as well as overall policy implementation and inadequate legal frameworks for data protection and grievance redressal for users.

To read complete statement- CLICK HERE

Hum agar uthhe nahin toh / If We Do Not Rise campaign on 5 September 2020

The Hum agar uthhe nahin toh / If We Do Not Rise campaign on 5 September 2020 is a nation-wide campaign having representation from 26 States and more than 400 women’s groups, LGBTQIA collectives and human rights organisations and networks. The campaign is on September 5, 2020 which marks the third anniversary of the assassination of Gauri Lankesh. The campaign is aimed at uniting voices against targeted attacks on the constitutional rights of the people of India.

The Jan Swasthya Abhiyan in its National Coordination Committee Meeting dated 27 August, endorsed this campaign and is one of the participating networks.

Facebook and twitter to follow are:

Fb national campaign page- (States are making their own pages too).