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The list goes on - Sri Lankan hospitals face severe drug shortage as economic crisis deepens

Photo Credit - Piqsels

As Sri Lanka struggles with its worst economic crisis, life-saving medications have joined the long list of essential items the island is quickly running out of.

Earlier this week, the Teaching Hospital in Peradeniya, which serves roughly a population of 2.4 million citizens, was forced to temporarily suspend all routine surgeries after running out of "several essential drugs and consumable items used for anesthesia and surgery."

While the Sri Lankan health ministry promised to rush supplies to the Peradeniya hospital, the problem is seemingly far from over. 

Health officials told The Hindu that “the problem at Peradeniya is common in most state-run hospitals where suppliers had not been paid for over six months.”

One surgeon at the National Hospital in Colombo stated that they were short of vital medicines, even telling patients requiring insulin to “bring their own.”

Ravi Kumudesh, the Medical Laboratory Technologists Association head, has called for a “disaster management initiative to deal with the worsening situation.” Kumudesh also stated that several hospitals could not perform simple diagnostics tests since “most chemicals and solutions needed for their tests were not freely available at state hospitals.”

While these hospitals struggle to order these medications, the government recently allowed suppliers to increase the prices of all medical devices by 30%, including life-saving stent devices.

Recently, the cash-strapped island ran out of paper. This caused two major Sri Lankan newspapers to halt printing and forced schools to cancel examinations for millions of students. The dire economic situation has also caused the scheduling of 13-hour-long power cuts and hours-long queues for basic necessities. 

Sri Lanka has sought assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) whilst also seeking loans from India, China and Bangladesh.

Read more here. 

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