Medi-snippets: Flying squads to detect malpractices in hospitals | Sunday Observer

Medi-snippets: Flying squads to detect malpractices in hospitals

Health Minister Dr Rajitha Seneratne has reportedly charged that patients in state hospitals are unable to get the full benefit of the reduced prices of stents used for heart surgery and lenses used for cataract operations as well as essential drugs, due to unscrupulous elements within the system. To overcome this problem, he has reportedly set up a flying squad to detect such malpractices in state hospitals which would begin work next week.

Dr Seneratne is reported to have said that he had received many complaints from patients. He allegedly charged that cataract lenses were being sold for higher prices outside the hospitals and this was true of some expensive tests and scans. He said, the flying squad would follow up each complaint and record evidence and ascertain its truth, and then carry out raids. He was quoted as saying 250 personnel would be recruited to this squad. To facilitate action several hotlines would be given to the public on grounds of confidentiality, with a request to patients to provide some form of evidence with their complaints, for quicker solutions.

Special Operations Unit on drug issues

Inspector General of Police, Pujith Jayasundera has set up a Special Operations Centre at Police Headquarters to obtain information on drugs, including heroin. The new Unit reportedly began operations on September 18 and will be in operation till further notice.

The public could provide information on drug related matters to the Unit on the following telephone numbers, 011-3024803, 3024815/ 3024820, 3024848 / 3024850

President, Health Minister at UN

The President and Health Minister left for New York last week to participate in the United Nations High Level Meeting on TB and Non communicable diseases. They will also participate in the 8th sessions of Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control from October 1-6 in Geneva.

Computerised drugs network

The 600 million rupee extension programme for Provincial Council maintained hospitals commenced last week. Heath Minister Dr Rajitha Seneratne was reported to have said that it would be completed by mid next year. Addressing the Provincial Health Ministers’ Conference at the National Blood Transfusion Centre last week, he was quoted as saying, there had been a shortage of 44 to 79 types of medicinal drugs when he assumed duty as Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister.

He said, the drug shortage problem was resolved in 2016 by introducing software to Central Government hospitals, and reportedly noting that the World Health Organisation had identified Sri Lanka as the first country in the world to streamline the medicinal drugs distribution network by introducing the drugs data network.

Hospitals connected to ease drugs access

All state hospitals islandwide will be included in the Medical Supplies Management Information System by 2020 under the direction of the Health Minister, Medical Supplies Division officials have said. They have reportedly said, a new mobile application will be launched for the upper management staff to order drugs over the phone and obtain them speedily. A total of 579 state health institutions will be included and connected with this system.

Traffic lights for sweetmeats

All sweetmeats sold in the open market should indicate their sugar content, the Health Minister has said. A gazette notification to this effect will be issued soon, he said, addressing a meeting to hand over appointments for 1,371 pupil nurses.

He said, initiative was taken to protect people from non communicable diseases, especially, diabetes due to excessive consumption of sugar, and that indicating the amount of sugar contained in sweet based foods would help the public to make informed choices .

Camera testing for Diabetes at Eye Hospital

Diabetes patients can get their eyes tested using the world’s best technology at the National Eye Hospital Room 30 before October 31, on any working day from 8 a.m to 4 p.m. Hospital sources said that all eye defects in diabetic patients including diabetic retinopathy patients, the commonest cause for vision loss in diabetic patients, can be tested accurately in a short time using this camera.

The Health Promotion Bureau has reportedly said, patients did not need a prior appointment for the eye testing

Sanitary pads cess removed

The newly imposed 30% cess on imported sanitary pads has been removed from September 20. Finance Ministry sources were quoted as saying, the tax on imported sanitary pads was reduced to 70% from 102% .

However, the 15% Vat , 7.5% Port charges and 2% NBT will continue, they were quoted as saying. Concerned women activists have emphasised that hygienic sanitary pads are an essential item in a country where 52% of the population was female, urging the tax be removed and not just reduced, following the example of India.

Health, safety, priority concerns for FTZ workers

An urgent call has been made to improve working conditions for Sri Lanka’s Free Trade Zone workers at a multi stakeholders workshop to discuss occupational health hazards within international factories in and around the FTZ.

The chief speaker at the event, D Sandya Hewamanne, a lecturer at the University of Essex, has reportedly said, the BOI workers faced many work place issues and that more awareness programmes on safety issues, especially, with regard to equipment should be conducted .

Other suggestions included at least twice a year medi care camps to provide free health checkups for workers , ergonomically designed chairs at workplaces and an exercise routine of two or three minutes once every three hours. The panel included Health Ministry officials , Board of Investment officials and factory managers.