The country’s apex association of medical professionals has asked the government to continue the lockdown, review the vaccination program and report meaningful data to facilitate decision making to mitigate the outbreak of the virus.

The Sri Lanka Medical Association told senior health ministry professionals and members of the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of Covid-19 in a hard hitting letter that main hospitals which are treating Covid positive cases are overwhelmed and opening the country now will lead to a spread of infection and a spike in cases which will cripple an already burgeoned health care system.  

‘The brunt of the outbreak is now concentrated in main hospitals and all wards are well over their full capacity with symptomatic patients including patients on ward floors’, the letter said.  

They recommend a further extension of the lockdown to avoid a complete paralysis of the country’s health care system.  

The SLMA’s observations are based on information they have collected about the current capacities of the healthcare system from consultants working in clinical settings and laboratories.

In their three page letter they point out that the vaccination strategy which is currently implemented needs an urgent composite reviewbecause it is flawed.  

‘In a setting troubled by a continuous short supply of vaccines we emphasise the need for an efficient vaccination strategy targeting high risk groups and a definite roadmap which will prioritise vaccination in certain geographical areas to avoid repeated lockdowns’.

The SLMA urges the government to provide a solution to the 600, 000 people waiting for the second dose of the Covishield vaccine as soon as possible and highlights the need to reserve the second dose where one is scheduled.

The letter goes on to say that the role of the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health is surveillance and reporting of data in a meaningful manner to facilitate the decision making process to mitigate the spread of the virus. It raises the question whether the Unit has data on PCR positivity in factories which are kept open.

It reveals the significant reduction in the number of PCR tests and how the majority of PCRC tests which are reported are exit PCR results which do not measure the extent of transmission in the community. Unless PCR’s are carried out proactively the results analysis will be lowdespite the disease spreading’.

In addition to the SLMA Council members and members of the Intercollegiate Committee, Professors Neelika Malavige, Malik Peiris and Kamini Mendis had also contributed to the discussion.







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