Medi-snippets: Drugs free Western Province | Sunday Observer

Medi-snippets: Drugs free Western Province

A pilot project was launched recently to reduce narcotics usage by 40% within the next three months. DIG Tennakoon has reportedly said, the project would galvanise public support for a comprehensive crackdown on a growing problem affecting the well being of our society. Sources said, 75% of crimes in the Western Province were drug related and the project aimed at reducing drug usage by 40% and crime related to drugs by 20%, within the next three months.

The project which envisions slashing drug use from grassroots level focuses on rehabilitation as a key tool. Plans are afoot to send nearly 500 of the drug addicts for rehabilitation and discussions with Magisrates, and have been scheduled to streamline the process to ensure they are sent to the centres swiftly. Toll free hotlines have also been reportedly introduced by Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel to serve 2.1 million residents in 1,177 Grama Niladari divisions within the Gampaha district to facilitate exchange of drug related information.

School canteen food affects students’ health

Head of the Non Communicable Diseases of the Galle District Health Office Dr Nalin Wijesekera has reportedly warned that the quality of food served in school canteens could cause serious health issues to students when they reach their forties. He has been quoted as saying his officers visited school canteens in 20 schools in the district and found that the quality was poor and most of them used harmful food preservatives.

He reportedly said, his Unit had prepared a set of guidelines for operators of the canteens which had been disregarded, reiterating that unless immediate steps are taken to improve the food served in school canteens children would suffer serious health problems in mid life.

Pivate Hospital ceiling discussions continue

The proposed ceiling on rates charged by private hospitals was reportedly discussed last week by Health, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne with high level medical surgeons and physicians participating.

Responding to charges that the main stakeholders had not been consulted prior to the decision to impose maximum charges on open surgeries and laparoscopic procedures, the Minister had reportedly said, the proposed maximum charges were discussed at length with the Private Health Services Regulatory Council ( PHSRC) chaired by Health Services Director Dr Anil Jasinghe and representatives of the Association of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes.

A maximum charge is also to be imposed on blood tests, X-rays, cardiac tests, endoscopies, urine tests and many other such tests informed sources were quoted as saying.

Kalutara Health Sector set up new organisation

Retired employees of the Health Department and Public Health Inspectors and doctors in Kalutara have reportedly set up an organisation for their well being as no government had supported them. Retired Medical Officer Dr P.P. Silva was reportedly elected as its President and Retired Chief Public Health Inspector S. Jayasinghe was elected Secretary at the inaugural meeting at the Panadura Sri Maha Vihara recently.

The General Secretary has reportedly said, the new organisation would look into the welfare of the retired employees as thousands of retired employees of the health sector had no organisation to look into their grievances and welfare. He reportedly added, the organisation would by apolitical and its branches would be set up in every district soon.

Campaign to reduce polythene use

The Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association ( SLRA) and the Central Environment Authority ( CEA) have launched a joint awareness campaign to reduce polythene and plastic usage in supermarkets and retail outlets.

Following a meeting convened recently sources reportedly said, a review of retail initiatives already introduced with re-usuable, recyclable bags, and alternate packaging as a pilot project would be extended to provide shoppers more choices . To ensure the initiatives are being properly implemented, sources reportedly said, the CEA-SLRA agreed to launch a Joint Awareness Campaign with the appointment of a National Task Force, led by stakeholders, under the guidance of the Ministry of Environment to educate consumers on polythene and plastic use reduction at supermarkets. They said, parents and teachers could play a more responsible role by educating their children on the proper disposal of plastic and polythene

Organic manure prevents NCDs

Meanwhile, anti pesticide activists have welcomed efforts to promote organic fertilisers using available resources from our own home gardens. “The fertiliser we use to grow plants in our home gardens need to be organic .

Promoting compost can prevent chemicals entering our bodies and causing non communicable diseases like diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure”, Deputy Provincial Director of the Agriculture Office Ratmalana, Agriculture Instructor R.S. Kumarasiri has reportedly said. He says, creating organic fertiliser like compost is the solution.

The method he suggests include the barrel system where one can use a cement or plastic barrel, which is ideal in urban settings, where leaves and kitchen waste can be put into barrels and left out in the sun. He also suggests the pit system, adding that the compost routine will ensure a fully functioning home garden, besides mental satisfaction, physical exercise , and healthy life.

Elephant sickness spreading

A sickness identified as Anoplocephala originating from a flea found in the grasslands is spreading in the country while no proper treatment has been found for it so far, Prof. Asoka Dangolla of the Peradeniya University’s Veterinary Faculty has reportedly said. The illness has reportedly spread among three elephants which also participated at the Kandy Esala Perahera recently, according to research done by them and medicine required to treat the disease is now being imported from India, sources said. Health sources allayed fears that it could spread to humans.

New mango variety

Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera recently visited the residence of 88 year old Tom Ellawala for introducing a new mango variety to Sri Lanka. The new mango fruit called TEJC is said to be the world’s largest mango with an average weight of 600 grams and was developed by Ellawala and the late Dr Juan Carlos from the Philippines.

Currently there is a huge demand for TEJC mangoes, both, in the local and international market. A single tree yields fruit throughout eight months of the year unlike most other native species, Agriculture Department sources said.