In a letter to the President, the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA), the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), the Association of Medical Specialists (AMS), together with the SLMA Intercollegiate Committee (SMIC) has made several recommendations in a bid to minimize COVID infections and deaths in the near future.
“We wish to emphasise that all healthcare resources are being overwhelmed, as indicated by the rapid increase in the utilisation of all health sector beds and healthcare facilities by COVID patients. The number requiring oxygen is very quickly and exponentially rising while waiting for the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and hospital beds is also occurring,” the letter states.
“An increase in deaths over the next three weeks or more would be unavoidable. The COVID deaths may reach unprecedented levels and a grave national catastrophe is a real potential threat in the near future.”
The associations have requested the President to consider implementing the following recommendations as early as possible.
1. Implement strict restrictions of movements of people by very stringent implementation of the Extraordinary Government Gazette notification on controlling COVID-19, published in October 2020
2. Decide on implementation of selected lockdown processes of certain areas, based only on scientific evidence of the density of caseloads. Restriction of inter-district movement of people would also be necessary if and when indicated
3. Maintain supplies to and services provided by selected essential service sectors and economic hubs under stringent monitoring for COVID-19 infections and scrupulous attention to preventive strategies
4. Authorise the isolation of families at homes, along with home management of asymptomatic cases, while being carefully and assiduously monitored by health care professionals. This should be complemented by arrangements being made for early transfer of needy patients with pneumonia, to the closest designated hospitals
5. Strengthen the curative sector by supplying adequate facilities such as beds, oxygen and ICU facilities
6. Strengthen the laboratory services island-wide for diagnosis of COVID-19 with PCR testing and also by ensuring steady and uninterrupted supply chain
7. Implement widespread vaccination in adequate doses at the earliest possible opportunity.