Each individual has a role to play | Daily News


 

Each individual has a role to play

“The World Health Organization (WHO) has taken measures to accelerate research and development efforts to address COVID-19. Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation,” said the WHO Country Representative Dr. Razia Pendse in an interview with the Daily News. It is very encouraging to see six Sri Lankans recover from Covid 19, she noted. Dr.Pendse urges the public to follow the seven steps to prevent the spread of the virus and keep themselves up-to-date on the latest information from verified sources like MoH and WHO

Excerpts from the interview

Q: As the Country Representative of WHO, are you satisfied with the measures taken by Sri Lankan government to combat the deadly spread of covid 19?

A: WHO is working closely with the Sri Lankan government to ensure Sri Lanka’s preparedness and response measures are sufficient. The government has proactively taken necessary measures and their work is in line with the 8 pillars outlined in WHO’s country preparedness and response plan (outlined below).

Pillar 1:

Country-level coordination, planning, and monitoring

Pillar 2:

Risk communication and community engagement

Pillar 3:

Surveillance, rapid response teams, and case investigation

Pillar 4:

Points of entry

Pillar 5:

National laboratories

Pillar 6:

Infection prevention and control

Pillar 7:

Case management

Pillar 8:

Operational support and logistics

Q: The majority of Sri Lankans are quite content with the manner in which the crisis situation is handled by the Health Ministry, Sri Lanka Forces and the Police. What more needs to be done  ?

A: We must continue our current efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. Measures to limit crowding of public spaces are very important; however, we also have to ensure that our most vulnerable populations are looked after, and the government have taken steps to address their needs.

Q: The number of covid 19 positive patients has increased to 104, according to latest statistics.  The first Sri Lankan patient was reported only on March 11. Is this an alarming situation?

A: In the past few days we have seen six individuals recover from COVID-19, this is very encouraging.

Q: In what ways has the WHO reached out to Sri Lanka to combat Covid 19?

A: We work very closely with the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services and other relevant organizations. We provide technical support and guidance when requested. WHO has also assisted with the mobilization of emergency funds to ensure our hospitals are adequately equipped.

Q: According to international  media , Japanese developed Flu drug AVIGAN seems effective against covid 19. What’s WHO’s stand on this? What medication is prescribed at the moment to crush covid 19? Has Chloroquine been approved for corona virus?

A: To date, there are no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care. Some specific drug treatments are under investigation and are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.

Q: What is your message to Sri Lankans?

A: I know this is a difficult time for everyone, however, we all have a role to play. Front line workers are going to work to help us, we should stay home to help them. Solidarity is one of our most effective weapons in fighting this virus. There is no place for stigma and discrimination. Take care of yourself, stay connected with friends and loved ones via social media and telephone. Seek information from credible sources like the MoH (hpb.health.gov.lk and epid.gov.lk and @HPBSriLanka) and WHO (www.who.int/srilanka and @WHOSriLanka).

Q: What is your advice for the public?

A: Everyone should follow these 7 steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with the bend of your elbow or a tissue.
  • If you use a tissue, dispose of it immediately in a closed bin and wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid crowded places and practice physical distancing (maintain a distance of at least 1m between yourself and others)
  • Stay at home if you don’t feel well (fever and respiratory symptoms)
  • If you have symptoms (fever, cough, and difficulty breathing) seek medical care, first by phone
  • Keep up-to-date on the latest information from verified sources like MoH and WHO

www.who.int/srilanka @WHOSriLanka

hpb.health.gov.lk @HPBSriLanka

epid.gov.lk

Q: Could you brief us on latest research and development on Covid 19?

A: WHO has taken measures to accelerate research and development efforts to address COVID-19. Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials.

WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19. More information can be found here.

To ensure clear evidence of which treatments are most effective, WHO and its partners are organizing a large international study in many countries to compare different treatments. The SOLIDARITY Trial is a large, international study, designed to generate the robust data we need to show which treatments are the most effective.The trial provides simplified procedures to enable even hospitals that have been overloaded to participate. Many countries from all corners of the globe have already confirmed their participation.

The trial uses an adaptive design, with five initial arms: 1) the usual care that is provided to the patients in the country; 2) Remdesivir 3) Lopinavir/Ritonavir; 4) Lopinavir/Ritonavir with interferon beta and 5) includes chloroquine.


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