Sri Lanka’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been swift, decisive and coordinated using whole-of-society approach under the strong leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with technical guidance from the Health Ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO), a monthly selection of case studies released by the WHO said.
The monthly selection of case studies titled ‘COVID-19: WHO’s Action in Countries | August 2020’ featured several countries including Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar and Russia. The report which was released on September 9 said Sri Lanka has ‘a Robust Health System Responding Effectively to COVID-19 Pandemic.’ It said the Health Ministry has received strong political support from the President of Sri Lanka since the emergence of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China.
"Sri Lanka has successfully controlled the COVID-19 epidemic in the country through its past investments to build a robust and resilient health system. On January 27, the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Sri Lanka following which the President immediately took the lead of the national COVID-19 response. Using WHO guidelines as a reference, the Health Ministry developed the Sri Lanka Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19,” it said.
It said adherence to public health and social measures was tested in the recently concluded general election.
“The election was successfully conducted island-wide without any amplifying event. It is one of Sri Lanka’s biggest success stories and illustrates just how far the country has come in controlling this deadly virus,” it said.
The description on Sri Lanka further said, “The government is also committed to continue its efforts in finding, isolating, testing and treating cases as well as tracing and putting contacts in quarantine. It is important to put critical attention in protecting the gains in this area and continue to explore opportunities to further strengthen its future preparedness to deal with future epidemics and public health emergencies such as natural disasters, dengue and other emerging threats.
With the strong political leadership, committed and capacitated health workers, empowered communities and coordinated support of development partners, the country can withstand and better prepared for future health emergencies.”
The publication is the fifth edition of the country case studies since the Country Strategy and Support (CSS) department started developing them in April 2020.
A total of 49 COVID-19 country case studies have been published so far by the WHO. (Lahiru Pothmulla)