National Covid-19 Triage Call Centre for Covid-19

Background & Justification

The official government reported patients with Covid-19 is increasing at an alarming rate (Ref Epid ,HBP websites). Furthermore, there is concern whether these reported number of Covid-19 patients give the true picture, (a) because of the incorrect reporting of the rapid antigen tests from the private healthcare sources (b) even the contradictory positive PCRs that are being reported by different government sources. 

The Ministry of Health decided that it will allocate 50% (40,000) beds, out of the total available beds (approximately 80,000) in the public sector hospitals for Covid-19 patients.  As at this point in time about 33,000 beds are taken by Covid-19 patients and the government hospitals will have about 7,000 beds to admit Covid-19 patients in the coming weeks.

The Home Management Project piloted in Kalutara 8 weeks ago and at present extended to the entire Western Province, cater to a very small percentage of patients who become positive with Covid-19. This is because of human resource issues and the lack of basic simple tools such as pulse oximeters etc. However no patient or even doctors can access and include a patient to the system as it is designed. 

There has been an increasing number of private healthcare providers that claim to provide homecare for Covid-19+ patients. Its questionable whether these are being monitored by the MoH.

Inspite of the alarming increase of numbers there is no single government source where a Covid-19 + patient, especially who cannot afford to pay a fee, can contact, and obtain information whether s/he should stay at home or to get admitted.

There is no National Covid-19 Triage Call Centre at this time of writing.

This was confirmed at the Covid-Technical Committee meeting by the DGHS.

The objectives of this National Covid-19 Triage project is

  • Give any patient with a positive test (PCR/ Antigen) an initial authoritative, responsible medical guidance, weather to seek admission to a hospital or to stay at home
  • Utilize the precious hospital beds to the really essential patients who need monitoring, oxygen and ICU facilities
  • Decrease the patient load for the Home Management Project in the Western Province so that the service provided will be in line with the proper evidence based protocols of home management.

Initial one page concept of the National Triage Call Centre for Covid-19