The risk of disease transmission in correctional settings is increased. Globally, it is unanimously recognized how the majority of inmates shows a low socio-cultural level, associated with particular life-styles and social behaviours, generally considered "at risk" for the acquisition and/or development of transmittable diseases.
The ECDC - European Centre for Disease prevention and Control - has recently launched the project Guidance on prevention of infectious diseases in penal institutions (2013/2018). The project aims at developing an evidence-based guidance document for communicable diseases in prison settings. This project may well represent the first effort to develop a common EU evidence based guidance for the control of communicable diseases in prison settings. Consistently the ECDC has issued a tender procedure for the “Systematic literature review on interventions for communicable diseases prevention and control in prisons and other custodial settings”, requesting the delivery of evidence-based information to be used in the intended evidence-based guidance document.
On September 2015, the European Federation for Prison Health HWBs in consortium with Pallas - Pallas health research and consultancy – research agency that specializes in public health, health sciences and healthcare, was awarded for the ECDC project application.
The overall objective of the project is to perform a systematic literature review on interventions, cost-effectiveness and service models for communicable diseases prevention and control in prison settings from 1990 till now, with a special focus on EU/EEA, covering peer-reviewed and grey literature on selected thematic areas and following international standards such as Cochrane and PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses).
A systematic review is an overview of existing evidences pertinent to clearly formulated questions, which uses pre-specified and standardized methods to identify and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect, report, and analyze data from the studies that are included in the review. The Consortium (HWBs/Pallas), could bring together their strengths made of great methodological and content-related expertise, which are contacts throughout Europe, ranging from experts at the workplace to experts in different relevant scientific fields, permanent network of experts in EU Prison Health field and an ongoing dialogue among researchers, practitioners, policy makers and stakeholders. The ECDC Expert Panel shall provide expert guidance and steer to ECDC during the whole project duration and define priority areas for action, contribute to evidence interpretation, participate in guidance development including the formulation of evidence-based recommendations.
Source: Pallas and HWBs Techproposal; Letizia Bartocci, MSC, Technical Project Manager.