In an appeal to the Government, The Association of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes (APHNH) requested that private healthcare workers receive priority, alongside national healthcare workers, in the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive. The Association noted that private healthcare workers are not listed under the Government's vaccine prioritization policy yet, and urged authorities to reconsider this as the private healthcare sector has played a vital role in Sri Lanka's pandemic response.
Handling over 50% of out-patient care in the country, APHNH reiterated the complementary role played by the private sector Sri Lanka's COVID-19 response. The sector ensured that patients continued to receive timely access to treatment, while the country’s public health resources were devoted towards reducing the spread and risk of the virus.
"Private healthcare workers are frontline heroes too and stand the risk of exposure to the virus, just as much as national healthcare heroes. Our healthcare workers are an integral part of our pandemic response, and the Government must prioritize them in the current vaccination drive. The Association and the Private Health Services Regulatory Council (PHSRC) are equipped with the information and databases needed to vaccinate private healthcare workers.
"Over the past few months, our member hospitals and frontline healthcare workers have made a significant contribution to the country's COVID-19 prevention and care efforts. We have collectively increased PCR testing capacities and have set up intermediate care facilities to ease the burden of COVID-19 care from the Government. This is why our staff need to be given priority for vaccination, alongside national healthcare workers," APHNH President, Dr. Lakith Peiris affirmed.
Furthermore, while making this request, APHNH also announced that the private healthcare sector is prepared to assist the Government in COVID-19 vaccine administration throughout the country. As of February 01 2021, The Epidemiology Unit of Sri Lanka's Ministry of Health reported that more than 100,000 people in the country had been vaccinated under the COVID-19 immunization program.
"The government and health sector has done a commendable job in vaccine administration over the past few days. Once Private hospitals are authorized to dispense the vaccine, more doses can be administered across the country, ensuring the conclusion of Sri Lanka's vaccine drive, efficiently. With millions of vaccine doses expected to arrive in the coming weeks, the need for increased vaccination services is imperative," asserted Dr. Lakith, reiterating continued support by the private healthcare sector towards national efforts on COVID-19 prevention and care.