February, 24, 2021
The Association of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes (APHNH) commended the Government’s recent decision to prioritize private sector healthcare workers in the country’s ongoing vaccination drive. APHNH noted that more vaccine shipments are due to arrive in the coming weeks, and expressed confidence in the Government’s support to complete the inoculation of all healthcare workers, health administrators and support staff in the private healthcare sector.
“As an Association, we’d like to convey our utmost gratitude to The Ministry of Health and the State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control for including private sector medical staff in the vaccine drive”, remarked APHNH President Dr. Lakith Peiris.
Given that COVID-19 vaccines are in short supply globally, APHNH expressed gratitude towards government authorities for inoculating frontline healthcare workers. However, the Association noted that the private healthcare sector is yet to receive their full quota of doses to be administered on all staff. APHNH remains hopeful that the remaining doses will be provided as the country’s vaccine stock grows by the end of February.
“While we’re grateful that the role of our workers has not gone unnoticed, we must note that this vaccination program only covers a limited number of private sector clinicians and medical staff. We hope that as more vaccine doses arrive by the end of February, the program will be expanded and immediately extended to other private sector healthcare staff - including administrative, clerical, and support staff. Every member of the health sector is a frontline hero,” continued Dr. Peiris.
The Association noted that the Government’s decision came at an oppurtune time because the sector’s role in Sri Lanka’s pandemic response had left their healthcare workers increasingly exposed to the virus. In addition to ensuring patients had timely access to healthcare amid a pandemic, private hospitals also set up PCR testing centres and intermediary care facilities to ease the burden of COVID-19 care from the national healthcare system.
“Under the guidance of the Ministry, the private sector has readily contributed to the country’s pandemic response and will do so as required. We’re certain that the Government will continue to prioritize our workers in the vaccine drive, so that we can continue doing our part in making the country safer,” asserted Dr. Peiris.
Dr. Peiris also stated that the Association is ready and standing by to assist the Government in COVID-19 vaccine administration efforts. APHNH noted that if private hospitals were authorized to act as vaccination centres alongside the established Government centers, delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations could be expanded.