Caution is the best policy... | Sunday Observer

Caution is the best policy...

1 24 hour hotline for food complaints on Vesak day

The Colombo Municipal Council’s hotline 0112676161 will operate round the clock on Vesak Day today (Sunday) for the public to report on any type of food complaints such as, allergies, diarrhoea or food poisoning people may develop, especially, after eating at eateries outside, such as, dansalas, take away cafes etc. Addressing a media conference at the Health Promotion Bureau in Colombo, Tuesday, CMC Chief Medical Officer Dr Ruwan Wijayamuni said most complaints were with regard to allergies during this time around. The visible signs of an allergy were usually swelling of the ear, lip and tongue within a short period of consuming the food. Stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea are also signs of food allergy which occur after consuming food.

He emphasized that those who experience the symptoms along with fainting should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

On the number of dansala registered with the CMC so far, he said, forty had registered and the numbers were expected to go up to 100.

The majority registered are rice dansalas while others include ice cream and juice dansalas. He said, only fresh fruit without preservatives or artificial flavours should be used in fruit danasalas while rice dansala organizers were expected to use fresh vegetables cooked under hygienic conditions.

Registration forms for dansala can be downloaded through the CMC website .

2. Cuba Salud 2018 discusses bilateral cooperation on health sector with Sri Lanka

Minister of Health, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine, Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne attended the international convention, ‘Cuba Salud 2018’ which concluded April 27 in Cuba on a special invitation extended to him. The convention organized by Cuba’s Public Health Ministry was attended by Health Ministers of some 42 countries with over 3,000 delegates from 32 countries . It served as a forum for discussing a global health agenda and other topical issues. Among them were safety and quality of medical care , emerging diseases, efficient and sustainable health systems, international co-operation in health, medical education, universal access and universal health coverage. Minister Seneratne also delivered a special address on Lanka’s success story in achieving sustainable development goals in Universal Health Coverage ( UHC) and had discussions with Cuban authorities on, on going and future bilateral co-operation on the health sector.

3. Microsoft Corporation founder hails Lanka’s high quality primary health care

Microsoft Corporation Founder Bill Gates has hailed Lanka’s “High Quality “primary Health Care and held it up as an example of what consistent dedication can achieve, at this year’s CHOGM Plenary session in London. The Plenary sessions brought together delegates from the Commonwealth Business, People’s, Women’s and Youth forums sharing insights and expertise to work together towards a common future . Talking on child mortality as a key statistic on the report card of humanity, he noted, the number of children living up to the age of five had greatly improved with 3 million children being served every year. Sri Lanka which boasts of one of the lowest child mortality rates attributes this achievement to its extensive and comprehensive primary care system .

4. Islandwide Nutrition centres to be set up

A total of 160 nutrition units will be set up islandwide and 50 will be set up in the first phase of the program, Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne has said. In a recent statement, while addressing Consultants, he said, he would be recruiting 500 nutritionists and they will be attached to the MOH offices islandwide, adding that graduates will be recruited as nutritionsits .

The Sunday Observer learns that the first nutrition unit was opened recently at the NHSL. A special lab will be set up to test food according to requests by consultants, and the Minister has asked for a plan of the proposed lab.

5. Child Stunting , Wasting, in Sri Lanka lowest in region

The Demographic & Health Survey ( DHS) conducted in 2016 has shown that short stature and stunting as well as wasting are lower than in most countries in the region, Health Services Director General, Dr Anil Jasinghe has said in a recent statement. According to him the 2016 survey had shown that only 17% of children suffer from stunting and only 15% from wasting, resulting from acute under nutrition. Under nutrition has already been recognized as a public health issue , and the Health Ministry is currently focusing on improving the coverage and the quality of several interventions that are in progress to address the problem, Dr Jasinghe has been quoted as saying.

5. Buses for all Nurses Training Schools

The Health Ministry is to provide buses for all Nurses Training Schools ( NTS) islandwide. Under the first phase, buses will be provided for NTS in Galle, Matara, Kalutara , Kandana and Batticaloa, Health Ministry sources said.

A new nursing facility is also to be built at the Sri Jayawardenepura General Hospital premises which can train 2,000 nurses at once. The new facility once built will be turned into a Postgraduate Institute in the future, according to health sources .

There are 18 NTS in Sri Lanka which train nurses for state hospitals and other state institutions.

6. Restrictions on maternity leave for women lifted

The new amendments to the law make all women entitled to 84 days of maternity leave irrespective of the number of children they have. As per the existing law, women with two or more children are only entitled to 42 days maternity leave whereas women who give birth to their first and second child get 84 days maternity leave.

The Labour, Trade Union Relations and Sabaragamuwa Development Ministry has gazetted two Amendment Bills to the Maternity Benefits Ordinance (Chapter 140) and the Shop and Office Employees (Regulation of Employment and Remuneration) Act (Chapter 129) on Wednesday, to grant 84 days of maternity leave for every woman who gives birth to a live child.

Of the 12 weeks of maternity leave, the woman can utilize two weeks’ leave prior to her confinement. If she worked any number of days during the last two weeks before her confinement, she can utilize such leave with the rest of the 10 weeks’ leave immediately after her confinement.

If the confinement does not result in a live child, the woman will receive 42 days maternity leave. Of that, she can utilize two weeks leave prior to her confinement. Maternity leave is paid leave given in addition to holidays and other annual leave an employee is entitled to.

The two Bills will be presented in Parliament for its First Reading at a future date.

Disease outbreaks in April 2018 Dengue

At least six districts islandwide have reported over a thousand suspected cases of dengue to the Epidemiology Unit.

Currently, 16,195 suspected cases have been reported in April with 30.1% from the Western Province. Although the numbers have dropped sharply from the beginning of the year, epidemiology sources said, with the onset of the monsoons the number of breeding sites for mosquitoes could surge. The districts that reported the highest number of suspected cases from January this year include: Colombo – 2,489, Gampaha total from January – 1,445, Kandy 1,030, Kalutara 1,085, Batticaloa 1,985, Kurunegala 1,053.

The Colombo Municipal Council area recorded a total of 353 in January which dropped to 80 in April.

CMC sources said, a schools cleaning program had commenced ahead of the new school term, and a National Dengue Control Week would be held before the start of the third term in November.

Leptispirosis( Rat Fever)

Health officials have warned against the likelihood of those working in farming areas and engaged in cleaning wells, tanks and mines of being bitten by rats and getting infected with rat fever.

“Wear boots, gloves, and avoid walking through muddy water as much as possible’, they said. They said, health facilities in all high risk areas have been well stocked with drugs required to prevent the disease if taken before going out to the field . If anyone shows symptoms of the disease they should immediately report to the nearest hospital . Delay could be fatal”, sources warned 

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