Medi-snippets: Drug addiction is an illness not a crime | Sunday Observer

Medi-snippets: Drug addiction is an illness not a crime

28 April, 2019

President Sirisena has reportedly said that following the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, all law enforcement agencies, the Tri Forces and other institutions such as the Customs will initiate a new program and see the drug menace ending in two years.

Noting that there were150,000 drug addicts, he reportedly said that all steps would be taken to rehabilitate them and ensure that they are seen by a medical practitioner who will identify their condition as an illness and not a crime.

Food safety programs to continue

Hot on the heels of the Food Safety Week themed ‘Let’s Buy Food Only offered Safely’ which uncovered several food outlets selling contaminated food, the Health Ministry has announced it will continue to keep a strict eye on all food consumed by the public to ensure that it is safe. Health sources have reportedly said that precautionary measures such as legal action against institutions serving food unfit for consumption and inspections of canteens at state institutions and places where long distance private buses stopped for meals will continue indefinitely.

CMC food raids net 21 errant traders

The Colombo Municipal Council ( CMC) has reportedly taken legal action against 21 errant traders during recent raids from April 1 in the Pettah and Colombo Fort, visiting 65 shops.

Medical Officer in charge of the City Food Safety Hygiene Promotion Unit, Dr Subash Mendis reportedly said that large amounts of food unfit for human consumption had been destroyed and that a similar inspection program would be implemented in May ahead of the Vesak festival to ensure that the public is served hygienic food at dansalas.

Faulty electrical items? Contact CAA hotline

Following several complaints from the public, the Consumer Affairs Authority has urged all members of the public to check their purchases of electrical items carefully and obtain a warranty card. Any complaints should be made to the CAA hotline 1977.

NCD phone survey

The Non Communicable Disease Unit ( NCD) of the Health Ministry will soon introduce an NCD phone survey with a view to lower risks of NCDs. Four out of five deaths each year are due to NCDs, studies have shown. The World Health Organisation has estimated that it accounts for 75 % of total deaths in Sri Lanka describing it as an NCD epidemic. Other studies have also shown that among premature deaths ( between 18 and 70 years ) one in five were due to NCDs caused mainly by unhealthy food habits and lifestyles.

Community Physician, Dr Kapila Piyasena has been quoted as saying that the survey to be introduced shortly would use a new method to speed up the time taken for national surveys. He reportedly said that usually a survey is conducted through a questionnaire with which members of the team conducting it obtain answers from participants across the country.

Thereafter, the information is collected, computerised and analysed at a central office, before arriving at assumptions and projections. He said this method sometimes took nearly two years to complete and was expensive. The new mechanism on the other hand would be much quicker and less expensive.

It will be conducted only through mobile phones which do not use smart phones and will not be conducted through landlines. Most importantly the call will not have ten digits. Instead, it will be received from1995, similar to a hotline. The call from the Health Ministry will include ten questions. If you reject the call no call thereafter will be received from 1995.

Health Ministry officials were further quoted as listing the following participation rules : age, alcohol consumption, smoking habits, consumption of vegetables and fruits, health details such a diabetes mellitus and hypertension, will be collected on a strictly confidential basis. The survey will not gather any personal data such as name, address, NIC number, credit card or bank account number.

Nor will there be a charge for participation. Officials reportedly said that the survey would be conducted between 8 am and 8 pm on working days. No calls will be received on weekends and holidays.

Sri Lanka will be the first SAARC country and the fourth in the world to conduct a mobile phone survey on NCDs , Dr Piyasena was quoted as saying.

New traffic offences Bill to reduce road accidents

The Bill to amend the Motor Traffic Act ( chapter 203) gazetted by the Government was welcomed as a step forward towards reducing motor traffic offences that kill and maim the public. The amendments include increased fines on speeding over prescribed limits, driving a motor vehicle after the consumption of alcohol or drugs, as well as driving recklessly.

Improvement in dental health in children

A marked improvement in the dental health of Sri Lankan children has been found in the latest oral health survey conducted by the Ministry of Health. According to health sources, the 2015/2016 National Oral Health survey for year 2002 revealed that the percentage of tooth decay in children below the age of six had reduced to 63.1% from 65.5%.

In children below15 years it has reportedly reduced to 30% from 39.2%. The report also revealed that children under 12 years with healthy gums had risen to 55.3 % from 27.2. Overall, the percentage of people between the age of 35 and 44 with healthy gums had surged to 47.4% from 10.2%, the report revealed.

Eleven dengue deaths by mid April

A total of 13,505 suspected dengue cases and 11 deaths were reported across the country to the Epidemiology Unit by April 10 . The highest number of cases ( 2,998) were from the Colombo district, second highest in the Gampaha district ( 1,703) and third highest in the Jaffna district ( 1,676). Health officials have advised pregnant mothers to seek admission to hospital on the first day of fever and asked fever patients not to take non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and to rest at home.

Bogus ‘physician’ arrested

A woman masquerading as a physician and examining patients at the Elpitiya Base Hospital with a stethoscope in her hand, was arrested by the Elpitiya Police last week. Police said the suspect had been examining patients in A Ward 2 of the hospital around 6 p.m. and the doctor in charge of the ward who noticed an unfamiliar person examining his patients had reportedly asked her for her credentials .

As she was clueless he had informed the Police. Police sources said she was following a counselling course and had gone to the hospital to gain practical experience in examining patients.