Drug addicts reintegrated into society | Sunday Observer

Drug addicts reintegrated into society

Plans to expand the current rehabilitation programme for drug addicts and reintegrate them into society are under way, the Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation has said.

Early this month, 51 beneficiaries were reintergrated into society after a one year period of rehabilitation and handed over to their next of kin. Bureau sources said, they were convicted of drug abuse and sent for treatment to the Rehabilitation Centre at Kandakadu through a court order. The Commissioner General of Rehabilitation, Major General Janaka Ratnayake has been quoted as saying that during the first six months the participants underwent various therapies, including counselling, meditation, agro therapy, music therapy and leadership programmes at the Kandakadu facility. In the next six months , they were given vocational training which is useful for their livelihood opportunities after reintegration. Under this programme, they trained in welding, plumbing, carpentry, masonry, electrical wiring and computer programming at the Senapura facility, under the supervision and guidance of Minister D.M Swaminathan and Secretary of the Ministry Dr Ponniah Suresh.

Currently, only males above 18 are sent to Rehab for training . However, the Sunday Observer learns that Cabinet has approved to accept others who wish to join the programme voluntarily, and for the inclusion of females and males over 18 to join voluntarily through court orders.

Closure of Matara district preschools extended over flu spread

Pre- schools in the Matara District will remain closed for another week to protect children from contracting influenza as well as prevent its spread, Matara District Pre-school Development Foundation Secretary Manouri Ilangamage has said. Earlier, pre schools in the Southern Province were closed for a week by Provincial Minister of Education Chandima Rasaputra to prevent the spread of influenza and were re-opened on June 4. However, the continued spread of respiratory tract infection and the rising number of deaths has prompted the authorities to extend the closure of the schools.

Meanwhile, following conflicting views regarding the number of influenza cases and rising panic due to wrong facts, Southern Province Chief Minister Shan Wijesuriya has been quoted as saying that maximum precautionary measures had been taken to halt its spread with enough funds allocated for drugs and equipment. President Maithrapala Sirisena has also assured his fullest cooperation emphasising that funding should not be a problem in resolving this critical health issue. Southern Province Education Minister, Chandima Rasaputhra reportedly said there was a 21 % reduction in school attendance in the Matara district with parents reluctant to send their children to school for fear of contracting the spreading virus.

In the latest death toll from the influenza virus, a 67 year old woman died from pneumonia in Matara on Saturday June 9. Her death, confirmed by the Inquirer into Sudden Deaths in Matara brings the total number of deaths at the Matara General Hospital to 16. Hospital authorities said, body parts were to be sent to the Medical Research Institute in Colombo for further analysis.

There are 342 schools with 72,250 children in the Matara district . Sources said that many hundreds were present with symptoms of fever, cough and flu and had to be sent home.

Parents in the Tissamaharama area have also urged the authorities to close schools for two weeks following the influenza virus affecting children from Grades 1 to 4. Hospital authorities at the Debarawawa Base Hospital have reportedly said 18 patients had received treatment for influenza with several children being treated in the children’s ward. To eradicate its spread, several awareness programs have been held in Matara, sources said.

50 years of intensive care

The College of Anaesthesiologists and Intensivitis of Sri Lanka ( COAISL) celebrated the 50th anniversary of introducing intensive care units in Sri Lanka on June 15. The first intensive care unit of the country was established in 1968 at the General Hospital, Colombo. Since then intensive care units set up in different parts of the island continue to save lives of seriously ill persons.

At present, there are approximately 100 hospital based intensive care units in Sri Lanka. To commemorate this milestone in patient care the Faculty of Critical Care Medicine of COAISL organised an anniversary walk from Viharamahadevi Park to Independence Square.

Emergency mobile app to stop ragging

The Emergency Safety Mobile App was recently launched to curtail ragging in universities at the Higher Education Ministry. Sources said the app had been developed for university students and academic and non academic staff to be used in emergency situations of violence, including ragging and sexual and gender based violence.

Two more cancer drugs to be registered

Two cancer drugs imported from Russia, have been forwarded for registration, Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senerathna has said. The two drugs which are reportedly much cheaper than other imported cancer drugs are to be registered by the National Medicines Regulatory Authority. The Russian drug was earlier rejected by the Sri Lanka College of Oncologists fearing complications that can develop in patients. However, it has not had any adverse effects on patients, Dr Senarathne has reportedly said.

Plastic generated daily exceeds acceptable levels

Over 1,200 metric tons of plastic is generated daily, the Central Environment Authority Director General P.B Hemantha Jayasinghe has said. Citing a study by the Japanese International Cooperative Agency he has reportedly said that 60 % of solid garbage is collected from a proper system whereas the balance is from improper dumping on streets and poorly managed dumping systems. The 1,200 metric tons of plastic dumped daily includes plastic, polythene, wrappers, styrene lunch boxes, plastic cups, spoons, yoghurt cups.

The CEA has emphasised the importance of stopping the plastic dumping menace completely, adding that alternative wrapping be made freely available, and that the public should be educated on using reusable plastic brands, even though they cost slightly more as it would prevent them from getting serious diseases including cancer from chemicals leaking out from the plastic.

Health Minister felicitates Lankan blood donors

Lankan blood donors were felicitated by the Health Minister on June 14. Currently, there are blood banks attached to all main state hospitals with 107 registered blood banks islandwide. Over 2,000 health staffers serve the National Blood Transfusion Service ( NBTS) which serves people irrespective of age, race or class. NBTS sources said, a pint of blood was required every two minutes in Sri Lanka and that a pint of blood donated saves three lives, emphasising that the blood was given free of charge to patients needing it. Selling blood is illegal”, they said.

Global Wellness Day

Global Wellness Day was celebrated on June 9 with focus this year on ‘Wellness of kids.’ It is an international non profit event created by volunteers, experts and celebrities who emphasise the importance of physical exercise, balanced nutritious food, healthy lifestyles, and mental exercise, as being integral to enjoying a better quality of life.