Medi-snippets: Private hospital services regulated | Sunday Observer

Medi-snippets: Private hospital services regulated

Prices of 53 services offered by private hospitals are expected to be regulated shortly.

Health Minister Dr Rajitha Seneratne has reportedly instructed Health Services Director General Dr Anil Jasinghe to draft the final report to regulate the high prices charged by private hospitals and other private medical institutions within the next two weeks. The government had already removed Value Added Taxes ( VAT) from private hospital charges. The public would be notified of the new price regulations through a Gazette notification, once it is drafted. The Health Minister has reportedly said, the government would be able to save Rs two billion only by reducing the price of the expensive cancer drugs. He added that since patients are unable to afford expensive cancer drugs, the government buys 95% of the drug requirement while the private sector buys only five percent. Addressing the Non Communicable Diseases Council discussions recently, he reportedly said, the price of ten expensive cancer drugs would be reduced after the gazette notification, within two weeks. The price of the cancer drug Trastuzumab had been brought down from Rs 280,000 to Rs 144,000, the Minister reportedly noted.

Additionally, doctors’ fees would be included in the package of charges. Health Ministry sources noted that at present various private hospitals charge different prices for the same surgery or lab tests . It is reported that the high prices of various surgeries, laboratory investigations and charges related to child birth would be included in the prices to be regulated.

Endocrine Congress on Diabetes

The Endocrine Congress of Sri Lanka 2018 ( ECSL), inaugurated on August 31 ending today is focussing on the latest developments in diabetes, obesity and endocrine and other metabolic diseases.

In a message delivered by the chief guest, Prof. Chantal Mathieu of the Dept. of Endocrinology, University of Leuven, Belgium, Diabetes mellitus is a disease attracting growing attention worldwide, due to the worrying epidemiological data indicating a worldwide epidemic of type 2 diabetes, particularly, in Asian countries. She noted that in type 1 diabetes, novel therapies and technologies were altering the face of the disease with artificial pancreas already in our hands and prevention and cure just around the corner.

Director General Health Service, Dr Anil Jasinghe describing the theme of the Congress, “Building bridges towards optimal care”, as timely, said in his message, the College of Endocrinologists along with the Ministry of Health was currently co-ordinating with different stakeholders to develop a comprehensive programme in preventing and maintaining optimal care in non communicable diseases, including diabetes. President of the Sri Lanka College of Endocrinologists ( SLCE) Dr Manilka Sumanatilleke commented on the continuous medical activities of the SLCE that had paved the way for public awareness on the prevention of diabetes. A pre-congress programme was also conducted on a little discussed aspect of diabetes; namely, Diabetes type 1.

Decline in liquor sales

Imposing excise duty on liquor based on alcohol percentage has decreased sales by 11 % during the last six months, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera reportedly said while participating in the second reading of the Excise (Amendment) Bill in Parliament, last week.

He noted that the excise duty on liquor based on alcohol percentage, would also lessen the health cost that people who consume liquor with a high percentage of alcohol incur to the government.

It was also noted that the decision to paste a sticker on every bottle of legally produced arrack would reduce illegal liquor in the market and contribute towards a healthier nation.

No alcohol safe-study

Meanwhile, a new global study looking at levels of alcohol and health impacts across 195 countries, published in the Lancet has confirmed research which shows there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. While researchers admitted moderate drinking may protect against heart disease they found the risk of cancer and other diseases far outweighed these protections. For people who had two alcoholic drinks a day, 63 more developed a health condition within a year, while in those who consumed five drinks every day, there was an increase of 338 people who developed a health problem, the study found. Researches reiterated that the strong association between alcohol consumption and the risk of cancer, injuries and infectious diseases offset the protective effect for heart diseases in their study.

Dengue threat still looms

While Epidemiologists maintain that there is a significant decrease in dengue patients compared with the same period last year, health officials battling the disease say, some hospitals in certain districts, especially, in urban areas and towns, are still crowded with suspected dengue patients.

Up to August 29, 36,007 suspected cases were reported, while 2,788 cases were reported in August alone. Forty one dengue patients had died from positive cases identified in all parts of the island since the beginning of the year.

Epidemiology statistics indicate that the highest number of cases were reported in the Colombo district totalling to 6.937 with Batticaloa overtaking Gampaha and Kalutara to occupy 2nd position with 4,156 cases . The 3rd highest number of dengue cases were reported in the Gampaha district ( 3,619). The highest number was reported in the Western Province - 12,762 ( 35.4%).

Health authorities advised the public to seek medical treatment for any type of fever without delay and without applying home remedies. They also noted that fever patients should take only paracetamol and avoid other medications, especially, Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen which could lead to Dengue Hamorrhagic fever with fatal outcomes.

e-health networking for children’s hospital

The Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine has called for bids from specialists in design, supply and installation of an e-health networking system to facilitate services and quality care for the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Specialised Children’s Hospital, Peradeniya. Relevant information is available at the Assistant Secretary ( Procurement) , Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Jaya Mawatha Colombo 10.

32 hospitals digitized

As digital literacy in Sri Lanka booms, invading every sector, under the Digital Health initiative, the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka ( ICTA) has reportedly said, 32 hospitals had been digitised to date, making it possible to facilitate informed decision making at government hospitals.

Honey, lemon for coughs

People suffering from cough should drink honey and lemon rather than take antibiotics. This is the new official health advice published last week by the NHS watchdog Nice and Public Health England as part of its battle against superbugs created through antibiotic overuse.

The new draft guidelines aimed at GPs and their patients say, antibiotics make little difference to cough symptoms. Instead, patients should try a spoonful of honey instead of the over the counter cough syrups. A researcher was quoted as saying that honey was a natural remedy tried and tested for generations to reduce the severity of coughs and did not affect the sleep quality of parents or children.

They stressed however, that babies under one year should never be given honey because of the risk of infant botulism.

Pharmacy intoxicants to schoolchildren

A pharmacy owner in Kurunegala was arrested stocking intoxicating tablets targeting school kids in neighbouring areas. A tablet was sold at Rs 300.

Police said 256 suspects were found selling them to students and youth during the past six months.