SL Health sector on brink of triple disease burden – MCRPA

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The Medical and Civil Rights Professional Association of Doctors (MCRPA), warned that the Sri Lankan health sector was on the brink of a triple disease burden with the rising cases of dengue, Covid-19 and the looming threat of monkey pox. 

MCRPA President, Dr. Chamal Sanjeewa yesterday (26) lamented that with dengue reaching an almost epidemic proportion with over 44, 000 cases, 35 dengue deaths and the increasing number of patients being detected with Covid-19, the country would be over burdened should the monkey pox virus reach the country. Explaining the situation, he said that as it was the fuel crisis had affected the control of dengue by and large. 

“Public Health Officers could not travel and conduct surveillance work when patients were diagnosed with the mosquito borne disease. Public Health Inspectors, and teams could not travel for inspection work while mosquito control work, like fogging areas could not be conducted due to the kerosene issue, Dr. Sanjeewa lamented. 

The MCPA President lamented that Medical Offices of Health (MoH), Public Health Inspector Offices and Family Health Service Officers (FHSO) were forced to close their offices unofficially owing to the staff’s inability to report for duty due to the transport issue caused by the fuel crisis. “The situation is such that neither can these health officers reach their patients and vis-a-vis as even the patients, mothers and children are unable to reach the officers as they too are without transport- not even public transport is available in most areas,“ he noted. 

Dr. Sanjeewa said that this was one of the causes which delayed patients, including those who were infected with dengue, from reaching a doctor. With not even a three wheeler available, patients tend to wait till the last moment to reach a doctor. 

The MCPA President warned that there was also a shortage of folic acid and iron supplement in regional areas. It would lead to a severe complication amongst pregnant mothers and their foetuses. It would lead to miscarriage, growth and mental retardation. 

The Folic Acid and iron supplement was available in the private sector at a high cost, he noted.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne