From left: Deputy Director Medical Services Dr. Lal Panapitiya, Public Health Services Additional Secretary Dr. Lakshmi Somathunga, GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya, Additional Secretary (Medical Services) Dr. Sunil De Alwis, Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunewardena, Minister of Health Pavithra Devi Wanniarachchi, State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Prof. Channa Jayasumana, Bank of Ceylon Chairman Kanchana Ratwatte, Dialog Axiata Group Chief Executive Supun Weerasinghe, and Wavenet International Chief Executive Officer Suren Pinto
- Pioneer centralised communication hub to support COVID-19 patients
Supporting the national effort in the fight against COVID-19, Bank of Ceylon, Dialog Axiata PLC, and Wavenet International Ltd. have partnered to establish the national 1390 COVID-19 Integrated Home-based Care Solution, a consolidated hub combining a digital platform and an outreach centre to better manage the home-based care of PCR positive asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients, for the first time in Sri Lanka.
This project was initiated by the Ministry of Health (MOH), guided by Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena, in collaboration with the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) under the directive of the President and Minister of Health.
In light of the significant number of COVID-19 positive patients being identified, the fully-fledged integrated home-based care solution will help reduce the burden on the hospital healthcare system and support COVID-19 patients presenting mild or no symptoms with a practical and hassle-free recovery process. The objective of the 1390 home-based care solution is to provide maximum comfort to asymptomatic patients, enabling them to be isolated at home while also being remotely monitored by a qualified doctor.
The integrated call centre solution, manned by Bank of Ceylon, is a combination of the toll-free, trilingual 1390 hotline powered by Dialog, that provides connectivity between doctors and patients, along with a patient management system that caters to the requirements mandated by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA). The Patient Management System is developed and sponsored by Wavenet. The call centre facility, along with the agents specially trained by the MOH, is sponsored by the Bank of Ceylon for its duration, while Dialog will provide the telecom service free of charge.
Coordination of the entire project, including training and deployment of doctors at district level, will be facilitated by the GMOA in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Clinical expertise is provided by the association of specialists in family medicine, University academics and specialists in different other medical specialities such as internal medicine, emergency medicine, paediatrics, and obstetrics. The entire program is administered, facilitated and governed by the MOH under the guidance of Secretary Health and Director General Health Services.
Regional MOH departments will initially assess COVID-19 PCR positive patients, to decide on the suitability of patients for either home care or treatment at a medical facility. On assessment, the information of the patient designated for home isolation will be shared with the BOC-managed call centre for coordination with the patient and relevant health services. Based on the patient’s district, a doctor will be assigned, who will be responsible for the daily remote monitoring and managing of the patient’s vitals until the patient is fully recovered or admitted to a hospital.
The system will help eliminate manual processes, while also providing a safe and efficient digital mechanism for all health officials to better serve patients. The initial pilot project commenced in early June in the Kalutara District and has, to date, registered over 800 patients in the system. The project will commence rollout to the rest of the Western Province from 10 July and thereafter will be made available island-wide.
The 1390 trilingual service is free of charge for all Sri Lankans, and it can be accessed by dialling 1390 from any network.
Commenting on the initiative, Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi said, “We are pleased to initiate the national 1390 COVID-19 Integrated Home-based Care Solution to further supplement the country’s efforts in eradicating COVID-19. We are immensely grateful to the Bank of Ceylon for facilitating the call centre, Dialog Axiata for providing the necessary connectivity infrastructure, Wavenet International for extending the patient management system and the GMOA for deploying doctors and coordinating this project. The combined strengths of these parties and the efforts of this initiative will substantially facilitate the progress of the country’s long-term plans for pandemic control.”