Health sector trade unions of Sri Lanka say annual budgetary allocations insufficient for the sector

July 21, Colombo: Health sector trade unions of Sri Lanka says the annual financial allocations for the health sector was insufficient and that administrative failures have caused delays in purchasing medicines and other equipment.

The Health Sector Trade Union Alliance (HSTUA) has said that the annual budgetary allocation of Rs. 14 billion was insufficient to purchase medicines and medical equipment and supplementary estimates had to be called by September every year to purchase additional stocks of medicine.

The HSTUA has said that a shipment of medical equipment ordered during the war in 2009 for the security forces personnel has arrived in the hospitals only recently and that there are drug shortages in the National Cancer Hospital and the Kandy, Karapitya and Pollonnaruwa hospitals.

HSTUA Convener Saman Ratnapriya has told the media that the recently received medical equipment were of no use today since they were needed two years ago to perform surgeries for severe gunshot injuries.

He has said that there are shortages in the Cancer Hospital for eight varieties of drugs such as Fludarabin, Dextrose and Nystatin while in the Kandy Hospital there are shortages for six varieties of drugs including Losartan K that is prescribed for high blood pressure. There is also a shortage of nine drug varieties in the Pollonnaruwa Hospital and Kalmunai Ashraf Hospital.

He has also added that the Drug Index in the country has not been updated since 2001. The index lists all varieties of drugs that are available in the local market.

Ratnapriya has noted that an annual drug requirement estimate should be conducted in order to obtain information on the year’s requirement of drugs in advance.

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