Special focus on NCDs in anti-COVID drive

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday instructed the health authorities to establish infection prevention and control strategies against COVID-19 with a special focus on protecting persons with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), such as heart, diabetes and kidney ailments and cancer, as they are more vulnerable to COVID-9.

The impact of COVID-19 on persons having NCDs is reportedly higher and more significant than on others according to reports from across the world.

It has been learnt that 93 percent of the COVID-19 deaths are due to infections arising from NCDs. Most of them have died without symptoms and subsequent PCR tests have confirmed that they were infected with COVID-19.

President Rajapaksa was speaking to the members of the Task Force on COVID Prevention at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday.

The President directed relevant parties to give priority to patients with NCDs and disseminate necessary guidelines to them and conduct awareness campaigns for them to protect themselves against the infection. The President has also instructed to activate all dispensaries and asked officials to be more attentive to persons with Non-Communicable Diseases as they are more vulnerable to the Coronavirus.

He also stressed the need to recognize the difficulties faced by the people in accessing major hospitals and advised the relevant authorities to take necessary steps to make the dispensaries in all Pradeshiya divisions fully operational.

The President said that doctors, nurses, midwives and other staff in these medical facilities should become functional and that arrangements should be made to ensure that their services are available to the public.

Those involved in the delivery of goods to areas, which have been declared as isolated areas, should continue to monitor whether they are adhering to the correct procedures, he said. No unauthorized persons should be allowed to enter or leave these areas.

The President directed the officials to take necessary steps to prevent movements from the Western Province, where the majority of the COVID infected were identified, to other parts of the country.

Ministers Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Keheliya Rambukwella, Members of Parliament Premanath C Dolawatta, Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga and members of the Task Force were present.

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