Primary Medical Care in Sri Lanka and COVID-19

LStrong plea to strengthen grass-root Primary Medical Care Units to face post-COVID-19 era

By Kumudini Hettiarachchi, Ruqyyaha Deane & Meleeza Rathnayake
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A mother with a five-year-old child who has fever, cold and cough goes to the Outpatients’ Department (OPD) of a state hospital on a Monday morning. The child has been ill for a day, the OPD doctor examines the child, prescribes some medicine and the mother and child go home.

By Tuesday evening, the cough is worse, so the mother consults a private General Practitioner (GP) as she feels that the OPD doctor did not pay much attention to the child. The GP examines the child and orders a Full Blood Count (FBC), if the fever does not clear and gives some medicine.

Ragama Hospital armed to face the future with its Family Physicians to the fore

Remote consultations for patients during COVID-19 crisis
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A patient with ankle oedema which was diagnosed as congestive heart failure in a ‘remote’ consultation is later treated in hospital.

The new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and all the dangers posed by it are here to stay.

The North Colombo (Ragama) Teaching Hospital had a system in place which moved smoothly soon after the COVID-19 crisis hit, which enabled its staff to look after the patients already under its care while gathering more under this health umbrella.

Driving this engine was none other than Family Medicine Specialists. This is a model that could be followed across the country.

Prof. Kumara Mendis, Chair Professor of Family Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya says that while making a workable guideline (now on the Epidemiology Unit website) for doctors dealing with patients at the primary care level, this is how they set about being an example at the Ragama Hospital.

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