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Challenges and Issues in Relation to COVID-19 Contact Tracing Strategy in Mahara MOH Area, Gampaha District

Authors:

G. S. K. Dharmaratne ,

LK
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S. Seralathan,

LK
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G. Paul Roshan,

LK
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T. M. C. L. B. Thennakoon,

LK
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N. Nishanthini,

LK
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T. Seralathan

LK
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Abstract

Introduction: COVID-19 was declared as public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) by World Health Organization (WHO) on 30th of January 2020 as it was spreading all over the world. There was a rise in the number of cases of COVID-19 during the second wave in Sri Lanka. The epicenter was in Gampaha district. Ministry of Health embarked several strategies in preventive sector. Contact tracing is one of such strategy.

 

Objective: To identify the challenges and issues of contact tracing in Mahara Medical Officer of Health (MOH) area in Gampaha district.

 

Methodology: This descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out in Mahara MOH area using qualitative and quantitative methods.

 

Results: The study revealed that a total number of 1532 cases were identified as contacts and they were subjected to Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing. The total number of positive cases was 575 out of 1532 contacts (37.5%). Mahara MOH region had a relatively higher incidence rate during the study period compared to district and national figures.

 

Discussion: Public health staff faced many challenges during contact tracing. As contact tracing is a subjective procedure, when an index case is identified, the public health staff had to engage in various contact tracing processes during which, they faced difficulties in tracking the contacts. For example, some of them were not willing to reveal true primary contact details due to stigma and experienced that, giving false addresses added further burden to this challenging task. Recall bias had also affected contact tracing to a certain extent.

 

Conclusion & Recommendation: Increasing public awareness through continuous public education would reduce the stigma of the disease and further strengthen the contact tracing.
How to Cite: Dharmaratne, G.S.K., Seralathan, S., Roshan, G.P., Thennakoon, T.M.C.L.B., Nishanthini, N. and Seralathan, T., 2021. Challenges and Issues in Relation to COVID-19 Contact Tracing Strategy in Mahara MOH Area, Gampaha District. Sri Lankan Journal of Medical Administration, 22(1), pp.31–36. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljma.v22i1.5358
Published on 20 Dec 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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