GMOA complains bureaucrats blocking transparency, development of best policy

(The Island)

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) wrote to Minister of Health, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, yesterday, informing her that the ministry officials were yet to reveal how samples were selected for conducting Covid-19 tests.

“As you are well aware, the GMOA has urged the relevant officials of the Ministry of Health to streamline the testing process to detect COVID-19 and it is regrettable that such testing process, in a way of an algorithm, is not declared by Ministry of Health up to now,” GMOA Secretary, Dr. Haritha Aluthge said in his letter to the Minister.

The GMOA has been asking for a policy on laboratory investigation for COVID-19, since March 24, 2020, but such policy has not been developed so far, Aluthge said.

“A policy on laboratory investigations for COVID-19 needs to be developed by a panel consisting experts, such as Virologists, Microbiologists, Chemical Pathologists and Epidemiologists. Although the Director General of Health Services conducted several technical meetings on the issue, no positive outcome has come out of them.

“Since testing is a vital part of strategy for controlling of COVID-19, it should be handled by the best and most cost-effective measures using a properly developed policy. A laboratory investigation strategy should suggest the most appropriate test for an individual, a group and a community. Also, the timing of the test, based on the natural history of the illness, on an individual patient and in a community.

“If there is a knowledge gap in formulating such policy, we recommend importing such know-how from a suitable source.

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