Medi-snippets: Affordable quality health for all in Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

Medi-snippets: Affordable quality health for all in Sri Lanka

7 April, 2019

Today being World Health Day, the Government has called for the support of all Ministries and the private sector to deliver affordable quality health for all, irrespective of age, religion or language.

Health sources have noted that the country had made remarkable progress in disease elimination and already eliminated several communicable diseases such as leprosy, polio, diphtheria, neonatal tetanus and whooping cough as well as lymphomatic filaria, rubella and malaria . However, they have reportedly warned that the country was constantly at risk of some of these diseases re-emerging, such as, malaria where the current transmission was by travellers from malaria prevalent countries. Epidemiology Unit sources have reportedly said that there were 41and 57 imported malaria cases in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

They warned that Japanese encephalitis which has been eliminated from the country could re-emerge due to the mosquito invasion. The National Immunisation Program of the Epidemiology Unit is reportedly making this vaccine available to adults and children free of charge at its Public Health Institutes ( PHI) and MOH offices. Sri Lanka expects to eliminate communicable diseases like measles and rubella by 2020 . Health sources were confident they could reach that goal long before the targeted date.

Nation takes pledge to eradicate drug menace

The entire country took the Bak Maha Divuruma Pledge to build a country free from the drug menace, on April 3 . The main ceremony was held at Independence Square under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena with the blessings of all religious leaders. All Members of Parliament representing both the Government and Opposition participated in the ceremony while government servants and the general public including schoolchildren took the pledge in their respective offices and schools. The event was live streamed by electronic media. The program will continue to draw support from the public to eradicate this public health menace.

Sri Lanka to be drugs free nation in two years

President Sirisena addressing the media during the incineration of 769 kgs of cocaine worth Rs 10.6 billion confiscated last year, in full view of the public last week, at a warehouse facility in Kelaniya, reiterated his stance on the penalty for drug mafia. He reportedly said the list of those who are sentenced to death had been finalised, as well as the dates, as it was a step required to take the country forward, adding that there were 150,000 drug addicts in the country .

Lankans come together to observe World Autism Day

World Autism Day was observed last week (April2) with Lankans from all ages and classes coming together to create more awareness on this disabling condition and encourage early detection and increase understanding and acceptance.

Speaking to the Sunday Observer, Senior Lecturer in Paediatrics- Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist – Teaching Hospital ,Colombo South and President – Sri Lanka Association for Child Development (SLACD), Dr Saraji Wijesekara explained that the condition was not still understood and that most activities held on this day was to raise more awareness on the condition. According to her, Autism is a condition diagnosed if children demonstrate specific symptoms in their behaviour manifesting from early childhood. It is categorized as a neuro developmental disorder and there is no permanent cure, but can be intervened early to improve the psychosocial skills. The affected individuals have different levels of social functioning and the symptoms are classified according to the severity. Poor eye contact, delay in speech, ritualistic behaviour and inappropriate social interactions are a few of the many identifiable presentations at an early age. Poor awareness on this condition leads to delay in detection and most children in Grade One are referred to a doctor when they have a challenging behaviour in class. “There is no drug to cure this condition but a multidisciplinary approach with the input of various therapies and specified teaching approaches in schools have improved the outcome of these children. Inclusive education is suggested for many children diagnosed with the condition,” she said. “Detection of the condition and labelling it as Autism is on the rise worldwide and awareness among the public is imperative to detect early and intervene early,” she stressed. What such children need is more understanding and acceptance and the ability to help them develop their fullest potential,” she said, adding that it was with this goal in mind that the theme of this year’s World Autism Day had been chosen, “Help increase understanding and acceptance.”

She reiterated that opportunities for employment and acceptance in society was a real need for individuals with Autism . “They need to be uplifted”, she said. “Conducting public awareness campaigns including mass media, awareness walks and public speeches with the support of governmental and non-governmental organisations would definitely help in achieving the goal of understanding and acceptance of these individuals.”, she observed.

Drastic drop in kidney patients in NCP

Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr Rajitha Seneratne has reportedly said that there was a drastic drop in kidney patients in the North Central Province. He attributed this to the measures taken by the Government since 2015. According to him, the number of kidney patients in the Anuradhapura district has reduced from 3,372 in 2016 to 2,011 by 2018 and in the Polonnaruwa district from 1,876 to 1,048. Joining the Committee stage Budget debate in Parliament last week, he reportedly said that when he took over as Health Minister, the country had 228 dialysis machines which has now increased to 500. By the end of the year, he hoped to increase this number to one thousand by importing more dialysis machines with German assistance. He noted that he had also imported Peritoneal dialysis machines for the first time in Sri Lanka.

Sale of quality drugs upped by 600%

Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Minister Dr Rajitha Seneratne has reportedly said that the sale of good quality drugs had increased by 600 and were now within reach of the poorest man. According to the Minister the prices of 27 varieties of drugs would also be regulated shortly. Speaking at the Committee Stage Budget debate last week, he reportedly said that the Government now spent 9 times more than the previous Government had spent on cancer patients. In addition another 12 varieties of drugs were regulated and among them were ten types of cancer drugs .

Steps to control dengue spread

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