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WHO grants US$ 2 million to avert Sri Lanka’s  medical crisis 

The World Health Organization (WhO) has assured its fullest support for Sri Lanka to come out of the ongoing medical crisis.

The organization has also agreed to provide USD 2 million to the island nation as a part of the initial phase of this assistance program.

This was conveyed by WHO Representative to Sri Lanka, Dr. Alaka Singh who called on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The meeting took place at the Prime Minister’s Office in Colombo earlier today (May 24).

Dr. Singh has said she is confident that Sri Lanka would be able to resolve the medicine shortage by July or August based on the new health program implemented by the current government.

She further stated that the WHO is committed to improving the nutritional needs of infants and expecting mothers.

The prime minister has appreciated the support extended by the World Health Organization for improving the health standards of Sri Lanka.

Chairperson of the special committee appointed by the Prime Minister to propose measures to alleviate the shortage of medicines Ruwan Wijewardena, Secretary to the Prime Minister Saman Ekanayake and Medical Technical Services Director of the Ministry of Health Dr. Anwar Hamdani were present at the meeting.

A health sector trade union affirmed that Sri Lanka’s State-run hospitals are running out of essential medicine and medical equipment while the shortage threatens a major health crisis due to a possible medicine supply chain collapse. 

Sri Lanka imports 80 per cent of its medicines, but a severe shortage of dollars due to the ongoing economic crisis has led to a shortage of essential drugs and importers are struggling to meet the demand in the country. 

The Ministry of Health is also facing difficulties in importing the necessary medicine creating a drug shortage in state-run hospitals and pharmacies, forcing hospitals to limit the medications for only for immediate and essential cases.

Tenders have been called from the Indian suppliers by the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) to obtain a list of essential medical supplies given by the Medical Supply Division (MSD) of the Ministry of Health, officials say. 

The Indian Credit Line only allows the Government to purchase medicine and leaves private medicine suppliers to struggle to import essential drugs.

 An industry representative said that the private sector drug supply to the market has fallen more than 30 per cent due to the dollar shortage.

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