PM looks into health sector issues

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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has directed the Health Ministry Secretary not to cut the allowances of health service employees.

Wickremesinghe yesterday (25), instructed the Ministry of Health to immediately submit a document on the essential drugs in Sri Lanka and the drugs which are in short supply.

This was stated at a discussion held on short-term and medium-term solutions to the current drug crisis due to the current economic crisis.

In addition, Wickremesinghe said that the Governments of Sri Lanka and India had agreed to the loan being paid back in Sri Lankan Rupees, after discussions, due to the lack of dollars for the purchase of US $ 200 million worth of medicines received by Sri Lanka under the Indian loan facility.

Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella noted that due to the stock of medicines and anaesthetics to be provided by the French Government tomorrow, it will be possible to maintain a continuous 90-day operation in all emergency operating theatres in the country.

Meanwhile, the Drug Regulatory Authority is making prompt purchases of drugs.  An Independent Committee headed by Minister Rambukwella has been appointed to amend the Drugs Regulatory Authority Act.

In addition, it was revealed that there is a shortage of 76 essential medicines at present. It was further revealed that local pharmaceutical suppliers have to pay Rs 33 billion in arrears.

Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, former Minister Ruwan Wijewardena and former Minister Sagala Ratnayake as well as the Secretary to the Ministry of Health and government health officials were also present.