Medi-snippets: Steps to control dengue spread | Sunday Observer

Medi-snippets: Steps to control dengue spread

The Health Minister was reported to have instructed health officials to prepare a Cabinet paper confirming the recruitment of 1,500 field assistants to help control the spread of dengue. He is also said to have instructed the Health Services Director General Dr Anil Jasinghe to take measures to reduce the spread of the influenza virus in the Southern Province.

National Anti Doping Agency

A new project to ensure that schoolchildren are saved from the drug menace will come into effect soon as a special project of the National Anti Doping Agency, President Maithripala Sirisena was quoted as saying when he opened the Agency’s new building at the Sugathadasa Stadium last week. According to Anti Doping Agency sources, it aims at building a disciplined, healthy generation and clean sports field while preventing the use of stimulants among students and sportsmen. A special program of the National Drugs Prevention Project also commenced on March 15 to protect the new generation of schoolchildren from the drug menace as they were a primary target.

President calls for National Cancer Prevention Program

With three Sri Lankans dying of oral cancer daily, President Maithripala Sirisena has stressed the importance of having a National Policy on Oral Cancer Prevention and protect them from this deadly disease through good oral habits. Addressing a workshop on World Oral Cancer Day under the theme, Muwa Suwa Wenuwen Nithi Same Ekweemu at the Apeksha Hospital at Maharagama last week, President Sirisena was quoted as saying that he had introduced a Deheth Watti, which is tobacco lime and arecanut free, which were the main ingredients leading to oral cancer seven years ago, to protect people from oral cancer. He was quoted as saying that Sri Lanka was now facing an oral cancer threat as a result of tobacco and arecanut use. He added that the Deheth Wattiya was nothing new in the country and has been connected to Buddhist civilisation for centuries.

Traffic Lights labelling for food soon

Regulations are being formulated to introduce the Traffic Lights labelling system to food to reduce the current Non Communicable Disease epidemic in the country. The colour coding system better known as the ‘traffic light system’ of red, orange and green would be introduced to solid food items available in the market, by April 1. Health Ministry sources were quoted as explaining to the media that the different colours indicated the sugar, salt and fat content in each specified food item: orange for moderate content and green for high amount of salt, sugar and fat in each serving.

Food Unit sources said the system which had been introduced in 2016 for all beverages to indicate sugar content in fizzy drinks, juices and cordials, would now be extended to solid food, partially solid food and liquid food, mainly due to the rapid rise of Non Communicable Diseases ( NCDs). According to a national survey carried out a few years back, 15 per cent Sri Lankan children were vulnerable to diabetes. The same survey showed that 20% children were vulnerable to diabetes in the Colombo District. The Ministry sources said that a new survey was underway at a national level. Although the statistics had not been released officially, it shows that the percentage of children prone to contract NCDs had increased over the years.

High levels of sugar, salt, and fat used to prepare food items available in the market had increased public vulnerability to NCDs, the Ministry said. Therefore, the system would be implemented for solid, partially solid, and liquid food items available in the market.

Health officials urge public to avoid unhealthy foods

With less than a fortnight for the National New Year, the Health Ministry has urged the public to refrain from eating too much food with high salt, sugar and fat. They said housewives were already busy making Avurudu Kaama and there was a tendency for both children and older persons with a sweet tooth to consume large quantities of such foods as they were now easily accessible to them at home. “Overeating can also lead to obesity besides causing early diabetes and other NCDs”, they warned. “There are over 800 Lifestyle Centres islandwide where they can exercise and get free medical check ups. Even some private hospitals have started to offer health packages for the festive season,” an official told this writer.

Global Health Seminar at BMICH

A seminar on Global Health Outlook : ‘Challenges and Implications on Sri Lanka’, was held last week at the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS). Participants included several leading health officials with the discussions focusing on a wide range of health related topics relevant to Sri Lanka, drawing attention to many sidelined topics such as, Mental Health issues, Health innovations in a digital era, Migration and Health, Nutrition and Health, and controversial issues such as, Politics in Health.

New hospitals for NÉliya, H’tota by May

The newly constructed Nuwara Eliya and Hambantota General Hospitals will be opened by May, Health Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister, Dr Rajitha Seneratne was reported to have said last week. The two hospitals which were being constructed with the help of the Netherlands government, will also be provided with the required equipment. He has reportedly instructed health officials to make arrangements to open the two new hospitals.

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