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Lab technologists, PHIs stand their ground against govt. attempt to gag them

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The best way to address misinformation about SARS-CoV-2 is by being transparent, Public Health Inspectors’ Union (PHIU) head Upul Rohana said yesterday commenting on the Health Ministry’s attempts to deter health professionals from commenting on COVID-19 related matters.

Rohana said that the WHO insisted that public communication played an important role in addressing the challenge of public health emergencies and their effective management.

“Proactive communication allows the public to adopt protective behaviours, facilitates heightened disease surveillance, reduces confusion and allows for a better use of resources, all of which are necessary for an effective response,” he said.

The PHIU head said that in recent years social media had emerged as the most powerful medium of information dissemination. However, health officials hardly used social media to disseminate information.

“We need to at least use traditional media and clearly tell the people what’s going on. PHIs are the people who see the situation at the grassroots level first and we have always tried to communicate that clearly to the people. We want people to know the truth so that they can act accordingly. If people feel that the authorities are hiding the truth from them, then they will seek information from various sources on social media,” he said.

Meanwhile, President of the College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS), Ravi Kumudesh said that hiding the truth from the people would not help the COVID-19 eradication programmes.

“The Secretary to the Ministry of Health Dr. H.S Munasinghe has issued a circular to shut people up. He seems to think that he could hide the issues in their anti- SARS-CoV-2 campaign by infringing on the freedom of expression of health professionals. There are many issues faced by health staff at the grassroots. The secretary has done nothing about these. He has not even met them. People are angry,” he said.

Kumudesh said that not a single health sector union has resorted to union action despite all the issues they faced and the neglect of senior health administrators. The administration however should not think that the patience of the health staff is infinite, Kumudesh warned.



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Employees’ Trust Fund Act No. 46 of 1980 to be amended

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The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Hon. President in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies to instruct the legal draftsman to prepare a bill to amend the Employees’ Trust Provident Fund Act No. 46 of 1980 enabling to provide health insurance similar to Agrahara health insurance to private sector employees.

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Cabinet nod for MOU between the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives on Cultural Cooperation

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The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Minister of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural affairs to sign a cultural cooperation agreement between the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Maldives. (The draft agreement has received the clearance of the Attorney General and the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

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Outgoing Bulgarian Ambassador calls on the President

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(pic PMD)

Mrs. Eleonora Dimitrova, Bulgaria’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, met President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat on Monday (06), before departing for her home country upon completing her tenure in Sri Lanka.

 

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