20 Sep SANவாදය – EPISODE 03
Under the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected many countries around the world, people are facing a challenging situation, where it is found difficult to protect ourselves from this deadly virus, and at the same time to continue our day to day tasks to maintain the standard of living. The fast spread of the new Delta Variant is considered the most challenging condition that we as a country have come across so far.
'The Frontline - Bridging the Gap', the third instalment of the series 'SANவாදය', is an awareness program initiated by the Rotaract District Steering Committee 3220 and hosted by the Rotaract clubs of Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Matale, National School of Business Management and Royal Institute of Colombo. This was held on the 11th of September, 2021 via zoom platform with the main intention of raising awareness on the spread of the Covid-19 virus along with the measures that we as the general public can take to minimize the spread. The guest speaker for the session was Dr. Mrs. Sudarshini Fernandopulle M.P, State minister of Primary health care, Epidemics, and Covid disease control in Sri Lanka.
The third episode of 'SANவாදය' was moderated by Rtr. Maheeshi with the guest speaker sharing insightful opinions and knowledge. Dr. Sudarshini stepped into the conversation by sharing the reason for the success of being able to control the first wave of Covid-19 in Sri Lanka by the government and the healthcare sector. She pointed out two main reasons for this success. One being the strong healthcare system of the country, where even the people in rural areas can reach healthcare facilities within a 5km reach. The other reason as she mentioned, was having a strong disease prevention unit and having an adequate number of health care officials around the country to carry out quarantine procedures well and prevent the spread of the virus. Afterwards, Dr. Sudarshini expounded on the following questions in a friendly yet very informative manner.
Moving on replying to the question raised by the moderator on the reason for the increase in the number of patients over time, she explained how the new variant of the virus spread much faster than the first variant and that it was not brought to the concern of the public like it was done the very first time. Furthermore, the irresponsibleness of various corporate officials, as well as the general public caused the heavy spread during the second wave.
Answering the question as to how will the experience gained through this virus situation will be used in the future to improve the health care sector, Dr. Sudarshini elaborated on the triaging system that was introduced which decided, when and where patients will be seen in an emergency department. Critical patients were sent to ICUs with HDU (High Dependency Unit) facilities while others were at intermediate treatment centres, and if not severe was treated at home. The HDU facilities of many hospitals were improved and steps were taken to improve the capacity of hospitals.
Discussing the challenges faced by the healthcare sector at the introduction of the vaccine to the country, Dr. Sudarshini explained how the demand for the vaccine was much greater and it was difficult to cater to the rising demand. She also appreciated the hard work done by the government to fulfil this gap in demand and supply and, even though there was a small break at first, later vaccines were continuously brought from different countries. She also said that one of the main challenges was to get adults vaccinated as most of the aged population was reluctant to get the vaccine as they will not be leaving their houses, yet not realizing that anyone can act as carriers of the vaccine and that there is a possibility of getting infected.
Answering one of the most asked questions nowadays on the effectiveness of the vaccine against the new variants of the virus, Dr. Sudarshini said that the current vaccines help to adapt our bodies to fight against all variants of the virus, therefore all vaccines are clinically approved.
The final question asked by the moderator was on the service done by Suwawiruwo and on what can be done to improve their physical and mental state. Here Dr. Sudarshini saluted all the healthcare and other frontline workers for the tremendous service done by them, and also appreciated their families for all the sacrifices that they have made. She also appreciated the initiative taken by the youth of the Rotaract clubs to create awareness and spread information, on vaccination and following proper health and safety protocols. She mentioned that “Even a single word of praise can uplift their mental state and that the most convenient action that we can follow is to show gratitude”.
Finishing off the discussion, the awaited Q & A session begun. Dr. Sudarshini was asked many diverse questions raised by the participants for which she presented clear and meaningful answers. One of the timely questions that were raised by the audience was on the fact that the Sinopharm vaccine is not being accepted in most countries. She enlightened them by saying that “Many European countries do not accept this due to the minor amount of information available on this vaccine. It was highlighted that any students who are planning to go abroad have the chance of getting a suitable vaccine by registering through the army website”. The number of questions posted during this time period was a strong indicator of the success of the awareness session with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thereafter she concluded her session with the ultimate message;
Sink in here to witness the third episode of Sanவாදය
Rtr. Tharushi Gajanayake
Rtr. Dilki Kottage
(Blog Team Member 2021-22)