Rs 1.8B in Itukama Fund to import medicine

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The total sum of Rs 1.8 billion in the Covid-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund (Itukama fund), is to be released for the importation of essential medicines, on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s instructions, the President’s Media Division announced.

The funds were received for Covid-19 control from donors during the height of the pandemic. The President said, the money could be used for health needs as the pandemic was now under control.

Holding discussion at the President’s House in Colombo, regarding matters of urgent concern in the health sector, he said that 234 types of medicines required for hospitals were manufactured locally. With drug prices increasing in the world market sharply, the President pointed out the possibility of increasing the production of local pharmaceuticals by obtaining the necessary raw materials under Indian credit line.

Officials present at the discussions noted that there were 12 investors in the pharmaceutical sector in the Oyamaduwa and Millewa area in Horana. The production in those factories was expected to begin in the next few months and has the potential to produce more than 200 types of drugs.

The importation of medicines and medical equipment was being funded by several sources. It is planned to allocate the required funds from the proposed budget as well. The Officials said they were hopeful that the health service would recover within the next three months based on its current progress.

President Rajapaksa noted that the Ministry of Samurdhi and Education was planning to provide a nutritious meal to primary schoolchildren and pregnant women.

Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella, President’s Chief of Staff, Anura Dissanayake, Finance Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena, Health Secretary, S.J.S. Chandragupta, Additional Secretary, Dr. Saman Ratnayake and institutional heads in the Health Ministry were also present.