Alarming Medical Crisis Anticipated
Posted on February 12th, 2023

LankaWeb Editorial

As the Nation  teeters on  the brink of instability with post Covid after effects, power cuts food  and fuel shortages and the burgeoning financial crises awaiting IMF sanctions towards resolution another major serious crisis seems to be looming on the horizon.

According to the latest report – authorities in the Sri Lanka Health Sector and consequently the people of Sri Lanka could face a serious crisis within a few weeks, if shortages of medicines, surgical equipment, and chemicals used in labs, are not replenished and replaced now! This alarming disclosure has been made  public by the President of the College of Anaesthesiologists and Intensivists of Sri Lanka (CAISL), Dr. Anoma Perera, recently addressing a press conference, in Colombo.

Alarmingly most of the essential drugs used by anesthesiologists have run out. The stocks at the medical supplies division were zero,There are no painkillers or drugs used for local anesthesia. This affects all sectors. It will not be possible  to maintain emergency services, and caesarean surgeries and similar procedures. This is not a situation in the government hospitals only, the drug shortages are affecting the entire Nation according to the report,

Furthermore there are irregularities and mismanagement within the administrative setup in the MOH which are also hastening the crisis where  In the next few months, the health sector might be compelled to maintain only the most emergency services, according to the report as a desperate alternative until resolution.

 Sri Lankans  are now urged by Dr. Perera to manage their health, through behavioral means, and take precautions to minimize the risk of accidents.Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) President, Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne who in  agreement  has said that the health sector is facing a severe crisis due to the shortage of medicines, surgical equipment, and chemicals, used in labs.He said that prices of these items have gone up tremendously as well and that the entire health sector has been adversely affected.

Ironically in April 2022, it was reported that former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had been informed that there will be a serious crisis by the first quarter of 2023. We have also worked with doctors to manage scarcities. The health staff in hospitals have done their best to ensure there was no collapse according to Dr. Ariyaratne where to the chagrin of all concerned the drug management cycle is complicated and there are laws and regulations to ensure that lives of patients are not in danger. SLMA has given recommendations on drug management and works with doctors that are at the grassroots.

In the last 18 months, officials have been warned about the emerging threats. We have also reached out to Sri Lankans, out of the country, seeking help. However, these stop gap measures are not enough. The government must identify that this is an emergency situation and take immediate steps. If not, we are in serious trouble he concluded.

Apparently the former President’s response to all this has been all but apathetic as the world knows and the analogy of “an indifferent President to his Nations needs seems an under statement.

On another front Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama, of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases has  said “most hospitals do not even have the facilities to conduct basic blood tests.Some hospitals can’t even print x-rays. They ask patients to bring a CD so they can burn the images into it”, he said in the most apathetic requisition that truly frowns on the incapacities and shortcomings of the system.

And to cap it all up – Prof. Priyadharshani Galappatty, Professor of Pharmacology, at the University of Colombo,has been quoted as saying that “the Government has not used the Indian credit line optimally”

which by itself is a distinct slur relative to the direction of the Administration in imperative Health Matters where in all probabilities it is a call for the President to take up the reins towards resolution being the capable administrator he has proved to be in these concerning and hard driven times for the Nation.

It may be comforting for the Nation relative to this impending crisis that the SLMA has requested the government to hold weekly meetings with representatives of the medical sector and take their input towards rapidly importing the critically required medicine.

It has also been reported that a number of unregistered drugs are also coming in through the use of Indian credit lines.

The combination of the Medical authorities on the panel relative to the anticipated crisis  has also said that “If we bring in low quality medicine, this would be a colossal waste. We have given recommendations to the Ministry. We must also establish a centralized system so everyone knows what we have received as requested what is needed where hopefully the the President in his conventional wisdom will respond towards what needs to be done to prevent a disastrous crisis which hopefully can be averted.

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