ECONOMYNEXT – State Minister for COVID-19 Control Dr Sudarshini Fernandopulle has requested all Sri Lankan women, particularly mothers, to help the government contain the raging epidemic by being responsible for health decisions within the family unit.
She called on all women to act responsibly over the next four weeks.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday (12), Fernandopulle said thanks to increased literacy rates among women, Sri Lanka has seen a 99 per cent increase in vaccinating children.
“It is the mother that makes health decisions in a family, and it is her decisions that safeguard the family’s health,” she said.
Investing in women’s education is not only good for the economy but offers social dividends too, said Ferndopulle, noting that there has been a decrease in maternal and infant mortality in the country.
She urged mothers in Sri Lanka to advise their husbands, parents suffering from chronic conditions and pregnant daughters to not go out and avoid crowds as much as possible when buying groceries and other items for the household.
Fernandopulle further said getting people vaccinated is a medium-term solution to Sri Lanka’s so called third wave as the results of the ongoing rollout could only be seen in three months’ time.
Sri Lanka has enough medical staff and frontline workers at the moment, but increasing daily cases could prove to be an issue.
“We need more high dependency units (HDUs) and intensive care units (ICUs), and trained staff should be directed to manage them,” she said.
The state minister added that out of 600-700 ICU beds available in the country, only 140 are reserved for COVID-19 patients.
“Even if we increase ICU capacity, we cannot increase staff to manage them. To train a doctor it takes five and a half years; to train a specialist doctor, it takes 10 years; to train a nurse, three. It takes years to train other laboratory staff too.
“Trained staff in the health sector cannot be increased instantly. They cannot be imported or purchased from shops. Every country faces this issue,” she said.
The cheapest way to completely prevent the spread of the virus, Fernadpoulle said, is public support – by getting people to stay at home as much as possible and to follow health guidelines. (Colombo/May14/2021)