Obstetricians & Gynaecologists urge govt to vaccinate pregnant women ‘as soon as possible’’
By Rathindra Kuruwita
The government should consider vaccinating the 319,000 pregnant women on a priority basis the Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (SLCOG) said yesterday.
Addressing the media in Colombo, President of the SLCOG, Dr. Pradeep de Silva said that ensuring the safety of pregnant women was a top priority. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) had recommended that the risk of not vaccinating pregnant women was much greater than the slight chance of complications, he said.
“Most of these women will be vaccinated, but what we are suggesting is that they be moved to a higher priority,” Dr. de Silva said.
SLCOG had calculated the facilities needed to ensure the safety of pregnant women who develop complications from coronavirus, Dr. de Silva said, adding that 80% of pregnant women who contracted COVID-19 were asymptomatic and out of the 20% who show symptoms, 5% needed specialized attention.
“We need about 50 – 200 high-dependency unit (HDU) beds per district, based on the population, 10 – 50 high flow oxygen machines per district, four to ten ICU beds and two dedicated Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines. If we get this, we will be able to deal with pregnant women who develop complications from COVID-19 for the next four to five years,” he said.
Dr. de Silva said that one pregnant woman passed away on Wednesday due to complications from SARS-CoV-2 and that she has been suffering from a number of Non communicable diseases.
However, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Dr Mayuramana Dewolage who heads the ward that treats COVID-19 infected pregnant women at the Mulleriyawa Base Hospital, said that they only had 37 beds dedicated to pregnant women with COVID-19. The hospital, which has the largest ward dedicated to COVID-19 infected pregnant women, didn’t have any HDU or ICU beds dedicated to them, Dr. Dewolage said.
“We share HDU and ICU beds with other patients at Mulleriyawa Base Hospital,” he said.
Meanwhile Dr Sanath Lanerolle, Senior Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Castle Street Hospital for Women said that pregnant women should be extremely careful of coronavirus. While most women in their first trimester usually recover from SARS-CoV-2 without any side effects to the mother and child, those in later trimesters can face many complications.
“If a pregnant woman has conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, etc, if she is obese or over 35, there is a higher risk of complications. If possible pregnant women must work from home, talk to your employer, and try to figure out an arrangement,” he said.
He added that several pregnant women with SARS-CoV-2 have been found at the latest wave and that these women show more symptoms. “This is the result of the new variant.
Deputy Director General – Public Health Services Dr. Susie Perera said that they had excluded pregnant women from vaccination so far. Even frontline health staff members who were pregnant were not given the jab. However, given the latest research and the events that are unfolding in Sri Lanka, the Ministry had commenced a discussion on vaccinating pregnant women, she said.
SF claims thousands of police and military personnel leaving
By Saman Indrajith
Thousands of police and military personnel had left the services recently as they did not want to carry out illegal orders, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka told Parliament yesterday. According to the war-winning army commander 200 policemen have resigned during the past two months and 25,000 soldiers have left the army during the last two years.
“We urged the law enforcement and military officials not to follow illegal orders. We will reinstate them with back pay,” he said.
Fonseka also urged the President and the government MPs not to take people for fools.
“Sri Lanka owes 55 billion dollars to the world. Ranil’s plan is to borrow another seven billion during the next four years. So, in four years we will owe 62 billion to the world.
Ranil and his ministers ask us what the alternative to borrowing is. These are the people who destroyed the economy and society. They must leave. Then, we will find an alternative and develop the country,” he said, adding that the IMF loans had made crises in other nations worse.
“Ranil says that by 2025, we will have a budget surplus as in Japan, Germany and South Korea. These countries are economic power houses, and this comparison is ludicrous.”
CEB hit by exodus of technical staff
By Shiran Ranasinghe
At least five technical personnel of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) resigned daily for overseas employment, a senior CEB official said.They included electrical engineers, electricians and foremen, he added.
“Most of them are quitting due to the economic crisis while others are simply disillusioned. Trained and experienced technical staff are in high demand in many countries,” he said.
CEB United Trade Union Alliance President Ranjan Jayalal said that the CEB had lost about 2,000 employees in recent times due to the above reasons.
“We had about 24,000 such personnel a few months ago. Now the number has come down to 22,000. A number of people had to retire on 31 December, 2022.
Sajith questions sudden decision to charge Rs. 225,000 from students following NDES
By Saman Indrajith
The government had decided to charge Rs 225,000 from those enrolling at the Institute of Engineering Technology, Katunayake under the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said yesterday in Parliament.
Premadasa said that the institute awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences (NDES) and no fee was charged from students until 2023.The IET awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences under the three major fields of civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, and eight sub-fields.
“This is an institute that has created over ten thousand tier two engineers. NDES is a four year programme,” he said.
The opposition leader said that the sudden decision to charge 225,000 rupees from students at a time when the average Sri Lankan family is facing significant economic challenges is unfair.
“This institute offered free tuition. We should continue this tradition. A large number of engineers are leaving the country and we need to ensure that we have a continuous supply of engineers to ensure we can maintain our essential technical services,” he said.
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