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* Sri Lanka’s doctors’ union proposes drastic measures to control COVID-19 pandemic
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 12:28 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 16, Colombo: The Government Medical Officer’s Association (GMOA), the trade union of government doctors in Sri Lanka has written to the President proposing drastic measures to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus spreading in the island.

In a letter to the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, that is copied to the Prime Minister and the cabinet of ministers, the GMOA proposing several measures requested the President to positively and promptly respond to the proposal.

Participating at a press conference held in Colombo today, the GMOA Secretary, Dr. Haritha Aluthge called for private hospitals and medical units to act responsibly.

The Association said the patients suspected of contracting coronavirus should be referred to relevant centers immediately.

“We should, instruct as much as possible to send infected people to specific centers. Private hospitals and the private sector need to act responsibly at the moment. There is a huge risk to the country by not treating COVID-19 patients at the facilities specialized to treat the infected patients. The responsibility of the authorities is to issue a clear set of guidelines to the private sector and to all hospitals on treating patients,” said Dr. Aluthge.

Following is the letter sent to the President by GMOA:

The Executive Committee of GMOA having considered the prevailing status of COVID 19 (Corona Virus) pandemic in Sri Lanka, urge Your Excellency to take the following steps with immediate effect.

1, Shutdown all ports of entry. (Air ports and Harbors)
2. Extend the public holidays to cover the entire week and prevent unnecessary movement and gathering of people.
3. Centrally coordinated vigorous measurers for contact tracing and monitoring, utilizing MOH (Medical Officer of Health) offices, Grama Niladharis, Armed Forces and Police.
4. Provide adequate protection (PPEs etc.) for healthcare staff in both government and private sectors.
5. Postpone all non-emergency healthcare services in government hospitals.

The above measurers were carefully thought out by studying the experiences in China and Singapore, which countries succeed in controlling COVID19 pandemic. In contrast, Italy which failed to adhere to the above steps in a prompt manner, failed to control the pandemic with disastrous consequences to its citizens as well as becoming a threat to the rest of the world.

Studies have shown, an eighty percent (80%) contact tracing is absolutely necessary for preventing the spread of the present pandemic.

Furthermore, containing the disease, is the only path available to our country as our ICU services, including ventilator support, which is necessary to treat patients with advanced COVID19, is already at maximal utilization with virtually no reserve.

We as a responsible professional organization, which highly values human life, expect Your Excellency to respond to the above proposals positively and promptly.


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