Sept 30, Colombo: The emergency number 1904 introduced by ‘COVID-19 Treatment Combined Mechanism’ has already received 32,000 messages, and it has assisted 150,000 patients.
About 50,000 patients have called to the hotline - 247 of the same mechanism, and subsequently 1,000 patients were hospitalized after they were identified as patients want of emergency treatments.
The Service has been able to provide correct health guidance to many patients who sought medical consultancy from home.
This information was disclosed during a media briefing to educate the people on ‘COVID-19 Treatment Combined Mechanism’, and its potential beneficiaries held at the Department of Government’s Information yesterday (29).
Explaining the program, Chairman of the National Institute of Fundamental Studies in Kandy, Professor Athula Sumathipala said the COVID-19 Treatment Combined Mechanism which was incepted under a Circular of Health Services Director General dated August 19 has been giving a variety of treatment services for COVID-19 patients.
The Health Ministry, Suvaseriya ambulance service — 1990 and the hotline-247 of Sri Lanka Medical Association are implemented by the Center for National Task Force to Prevent COVID-19.
The mechanism is contributed by professors, doctors attached to the health service and national university network and many others engaged in the health sector including medical students.
The mechanism performed a significantly important service in identifying the priority to find hospitals and other health facilities as the number of COVID-19 patients was ion the increase in the past several weeks.
Professor of Community Health attached to the Medical Faculty of the University of Colombo, Manuj Weerasinghe said ‘1904’ SMS service was introduced as the best choice to the constant jam on telephone lines.
The SMS are obtained under three categories. When a patient wants of emergency treatment he or she should type his or her Name, Address and Age together with Letter ‘A’. A patient who shows COVID-19 symptoms but has no serious complications should type Letter B. Letter C should be typed by patients who are tested for the pandemic but do not show notable symptoms.
A facility to instantly display all the messages before a group of doctors on duty under the observation of the professors has been set up in the Service Operation Room. Accordingly, the doctors on duty decide whom should be given priority, necessary advice and the future course of treatment. The patients want of emergency treatment are hospitalized with the assistance of the Suvaseriya ambulance service.
The requirements of the other patients are managed accordingly, and the family members are guided when certain patients are recommended to stay at home.
The Professor said that a patient with breathing difficulties or difficulties of that nature is advised to send his SMS under Letter ““A”. The service is set up in the Western, Southern and the North Western Provinces but SMSs were received from around the island. He said actions were taken with regard to all the SMSs.
Speaking at the media briefing, Professor attached to the Medical Faculty of the University of Colombo and former Chairman of the Sri Lanka Medical Association, Indika Karunathilaka said Hot Line 247 could be dialed on any telephone network.
Referring to the patients’ staying at home, the Professor said that they should take sufficient rest, nutritious food, more warmed drinks and follow the correct health advice. He said it is risky to taken antibiotics and other medications without the instructions of a doctor.
It was reiterated during the media briefing when a person is tested positive for the COVID- 19, such patients should not take self-decisions whether to stay at home. They should definitely seek medical advice instead. COVID-19 Treatment Combined Mechanism works round the clock to provide correct advice and guidance in this context.