PCR testing should be audited – GMOA

GMOA - Government Medical Officer's Association - Sri Lanka

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), said an audit was warranted, to monitor the capacity, capability and efficiency of PCR testing, which provide the basis of COVID-19 related public health decision-making.

In a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, signed by the Union’s President, Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya and Secretary Dr. Senal Fernando, it said there was a need to divide PCR test results into three categories. Namely, those which are issued within 24 hours (Category A), between 24 hours and 48 hours (Category B), and those issued after 48 hours (Category C).

They stated results which are released within 24 hours (A) would be timely PCR reports, while those which are released after that (B and C) would either be delayed PCR reports or outdated reports.

The unionists said a failure in implementing “border crossing governance,” had resulted in the spread of COVID-19 across the country through supply chains. “A similar situation can be expected from home delivery services, especially through trading vehicles which operate in areas with restrictions or curfew.”

They also highlighted the

importance of global positioning system mapping of COVID-19 data, to make timely and effective decisions.

Meanwhile, President of the College of Medical Laboratory Science Sri Lanka (CMLSSL), Ravi Kumudesh, said yesterday (4) that there were at least four hospitals which were in dire need of PCR laboratory facilities to cater to the need for testing increasing

numbers in COVID-19 patients and their contacts. “The Teaching Hospital Kurunegala, which did not have a PCR machine, had been lent a new one by the Coconut Research Institute (CRI). However, the machine had remained at the Hospital for the past one and a half months without being put into use. The Microbiologist of the Hospital failed to set it up and put it to use during the entire period,” he said.

“A similar situation occurred at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL), where a PCR machine which was donated to the Hospital was also turned away by the relevant unit, while it was set up without much hassle at the Sri Jayewardenepura University and has been put to use since. The NHSL currently has 43 patients, while it has also had six COVID-19 deaths,” he added.

“Kegalle and Kalutara were the other areas which required PCR machines. While the Microbiologist of the Teaching Hospital of Kegalle made repeated appeals to the Health Ministry for the provision of PCR facilities for the Hospital to no avail, the Director of the Nagoda Kalutara Hospital also made several appeals to the Ministry for the same with no favourable response,” he said.  Provincial Director of Health Services (PDHS) of the Sabaragamuwa Province, Dr. Kapila Kannangara, said the General Hospital Ratnapura catered to the needs for PCR testing at Kegalle as well. He said he had made appeals to the Health Ministry for a PCR machine for a provincial hospital at least.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health decided to recruit 1,000 trainees for 12 posts in the Professions Supplementary to Medicine and Paramedical Services. Media Secretary to the Health Minister, Viraj Abeysinghe, said the Ministry of Health has facilitated the application process online from 29 October to apply for several positions including Pharmacist, Occupational Therapists and Radiographer on the website of the Ministry of Health, www.health.gov.lk. The last date for the submission of applications for these posts is 30 November. If there is any problem in submitting the application, the Human Resource Management and Coordinating Unit of the Ministry of Health would be available from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays. He said instructions could be obtained by calling the hotline number 0112-340007.

(Source: Ceylon Today – By Dilanthi Jayamanne)