Recap – How Remedians worked during COVID 19
Recap – How Remedians worked during COVID 19
Note: Government of Sri Lanka has lifted curfew and allowed economy to function from 11th of May 2020.
RemediumOne as the pioneering clinical research institution in Sri Lanka has gone beyond the limits to ensure patient safety as well as the safety of all employees during the pandemic. First confirmed case of Coronavirus infection was reported from Sri Lanka on 27th January 2020. The patient was a Chinese National who came to Sri Lanka as a tourist.
An initial alert was given by the senior management on Covid-19 threat and preventive mechanisms to be followed during the employee meetings/ gatherings on 3rd of Jan 2020 well ahead of first patient identification from Sri Lanka.
With the first local patient being detected from Sri Lanka on 11th March 2020 began the second phase of preventive measures taken by the company on the pandemic such as internal discussion sessions were conducted among divisional heads and risk assessment meetings were also held. With the increasing number of Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Sri Lanka, government declared a holiday on 16th March 2020 and work-from home option was given to all the government and private sector employees from 17th March onwards. Accordingly, company instructed all employees to engage in work responsibilities from home, effective from the said date and in order to ensure the personal safety. An awareness guideline developed by the Ministry of skills development, employment and labor relations have been circulated among all employees covering the available information with the respect to the below mentioned key areas;
- Preventive actions against Covid-19
- Detection of Covid-19 at workplace
- Isolation of Covid-19 conditions at workplace
- Awareness on symptoms
- Employer’s responsibility
- Precautions to be taken to minimize the risk
With the whole country going on to a lockdown, the main focus of RemediumOne was on how to ensure the patient safety during COVID-19, since the patients would not be able to visit the site or have access to a continuous supply IMP. The operation department followed a proactive approach to mitigate the above difficulties by conducting home visits along with a medical professional in order make sure that no difficulties are faced during the pandemic by any patient who are taking part in any of the trials managed by RemediumOne and the patient do have the required IMP and the correct doses of medications throughout the pandemic. All the above home visits were conducted as per the customized preventive guidelines to mitigate the risk in conducting patient visits which were prepared by the head of clinical operations. The difficulties faced by the operations department when conducting home visits were immense since there were government restriction in travelling. However, those challenges were faced by RemediumOne team with smiling faces and positive mindset. Following milestones were achieved during the pandemic, with the tireless effort of our hardworking, committed workforce.
- Home visits were conducted for the following clinical trials
- Focus was on the required protocol follow-ups and IMP delivery to ensure patients’ safety
- Total of 142 home visits were conducted during this period with utmost difficulties
While the operations department were on the move conducting all the required visits, all the other supporting divisions were working remotely on a continuous basis to ensure the smooth functioning of all work-related operations with respect to their work scope. Although everyone was working from home, the HODs of each department kept in touch with their teams and progress was reported to the senior management on a daily basis. Although this was the first time in past 10 years, as a company facing a period with great difficulties all the company employees made sure their daily tasks are completed complying to the work ethics, ensuring maximum utilization of staff.
World Health Organization (WHO) planned to conduct a global trial for Covid-19 in multiple regions and Sri Lanka has been chosen to participate in the trial from the South Asian region. RemediumOne has gained the opportunity of facilitating this global trial in Sri Lanka which will mark an important milestone in the clinical trial history of Sri Lanka, since this is the first trial that will be conducted in Sri Lanka with respect to COVID-19.
Since this was a monotonous period where a group of professionals were stuck at home for a period of almost two months, HR division along with a set of staff members came up with couple of employee engagement activities. COVID-19 relief song ‘Nagitimu Sri Lanka’ which was also released on social media platforms and was casted on one of the leading TV channels in Sri Lanka – Sirasa TV. Also, since majority of the employees were staying at home during the period, they got spare time to engage in various personal commitments. Some were baking, gardening, making art and crafts etc, hence a photo collage was created on a weekly basis with the pictures of the leisure activities done by the employees during the pandemic, which was quite entertaining for all of the employees to know what others are actually up to. Daily conversations on WhatsApp group kept the employees interacted with each other and not missing any birthdays or any important information regarding RemediumOne or COVID-19.
All the HODs as well as the CEO took some time off their busy schedules to check on each individual employee and their families with respect to any safety concerns or difficulties faced during the pandemic. A special note shared by the CEO on a weekly basis among all employees which delivered the progress of ongoing work and appreciation emails, remarks were sent to the employees for the exceptional contribution during the period of the pandemic. Industry awareness was created among employees on what is the impact on corporate world, industries due to the pandemic situation.
As the country was initially planned to open up to the new normal on 23rd April prior to start off any work operations, guidelines have been shared with both the site teams and the head office employees regarding the safe practices of conducting work adhering to social distancing and guidelines imposed by the government. Upon the on-site resumption of work on 11th May 2020, all the safety gear such as masks, hand sanitizers, gloves, surface cleaners, head covers, awareness posters etc have been distributed to all divisions and continue the safe practices at work, till today. The safety gear and necessary equipment will be continuously provided on a weekly basis, as per the requirement for all the employees. The company has taken all the measures to be on high alert on newest COVID-19 news and make sure all safety measures have been taken with respect to employee safety.
For us patient safety is paramount. We trust that this pandemic has created an awareness among the public on importance of clinical trials in bringing new cure and hope.