The Health Ministry is to set up a database that can be accessed by all main hospitals in a bid to overcome the problem of drug shortages.
Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena told the Sunday Times that the main objective would be to have accurate details of medicines and equipment required by hospitals to ensure that necessary stocks were available at all times. “Sometimes the Medical Supplies Division has the medicines but they have not reached a particular hospital or ward. Sometimes the stocks don’t reach rural areas, thereby creating shortages,” he said.
He said the project that would cost Rs. 270 million would be in place by early next year. He said one of the reasons for the shortages was the lack of information regarding stocks of drugs. “Sometimes a particular ward is not aware that their own stores has the medicines,”he said.
“People involved in various frauds may not like the system. But I have warned that all should extend their co-operation as it would benefit the health system,” he said. The minister said the government spends Rs. 16 billion on medicines and health equipment and hence the need for an efficient system to ensure there is no wastage of medicines.
He said that in the future most of the medicines would be imported on a government to government basis which would help to reduce the cost and avoid other malpractices, adding that he has discussed the matter with Indian and Bangladeshi authorities. He also said from next year saline would be produced in Sri Lanka keeping with WHO standards. The current requirement is 17,000 saline bottles a day.
The Minister also said the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (CPC) that currently produces 40 varieties of drugs would increase it to 100.
Chilaw hospital facilities in deplorable state
By Augustine Fernando
A shocking lack of basic facilities at Chilaw hospital is causing serious concern among patients, according to medical officers based there.
Government Medical Officers Association (Chilaw Branch) Secretary Dr. K.P. Mallawarachchi said that it has become difficult to treat patients here due to lack of basic facilities in the surgical wards, some of which are closed now.
Elaborating on the situation, he said that poor air conditioning affects operations as germs are released, which is a threat to patients, some of whom have died as a result. It affects the work of the surgeons who are forced to work in unhealthy conditions. He added that the blame for unsuccessful operations is upon the medical men, who invariably become targets of criticism from the public. Due to suspension of operations, more than 250 patients have been refused operations.
The A/C apparatus is over 16-years old and the CEB is responsible for its maintenance. Most of the equipment in the operating theatres is obsolete, which results in patients being refused operations. Lab facilities are outdated and blood transfusions cannot be done correctly.
Child specialist Dr. Nishathan Fonseka said that though two buildings were opened for children in 2000, the structure is threatening to come down. All children’s wards, save the ward for premature babies are in disarray due to lack of equipment. Puttalam Region, Health Services Director Dr. U.B. Ranasinghe said that the A/C apparatus was repaired at a cost of Rs 270,000, but it was doubtful that it would work. However, he said that a re-inspection should be carried out and repairs effected or a replacement installed.
Father, son praised for civic sense in nabbing Chinese murder suspects
The contribution made by a father and son in arresting two Chinese nationals who were responsible for the murder of one of their colleagues, came in for praise from the Colombo High Court.
Their contribution was noted when Colombo High Court Judge Sunil Perera passed the death sentence on five Chinese nationals who were found guilty of murdering another Chinese.
The father and son residing in the Daulagala area off Kandy had suddenly noticed two bags falling into their garden. They had found parts of a body in the bag.
Coming out on to the road they had noticed a suspicious three-wheeler in the vicinity and given chase to it leading to the arrest of two Chinese nationals in it. They were trying to dispose of the body of a Chinese worker employed in the restaurant in Wellawatte. They had killed him in 2003 and taken the body in a van to Kandy and thereafter in a three-wheeler and thrown the body into the garden.
The trial was held with two of the accused in absentia. However the death sentence was passed on all of them, with one being the woman owner of the restaurant. Investigations revealed that they had killed the fellow Chinese over a dispute.
Vavuniya Hospital closes operating theatre
By Priyantha Hewage
The operating theatre in Vavuniya Hospital has been closed from Thursday night due to dysfunctional lights, leaving hundreds of patients in distress. “The lights used in the theatre are not functioning and we decided to close down considering the safety of those who undergo surgeries,” a health official of the Hospital said.
Up to 40 surgeries are performed daily. But now, patients from remote areas are being turned away with different dates for surgeries.
Patients in need of immediate surgeries are being sent to Anuradhapura and Jaffna Hospitals.8
Assault on driver,
By Shane Seneviratne
Eight men who allegedly assaulted a man and set his Defender vehicle ablaze at Illukwatta in Kadugannawa on Friday were taken into custody by the special investigation unit of the Central Province DIG’s office, police said. T
he driver of the jeep had apparently dropped at Illukwatta a person to whom he had given a lift and was returning when villagers in the area had allegedly started an argument with the driver that developed into a fight ending with the jeep being set on fire.
DIG Nihal Samarakoon has ordered an inquiry into the incident and Headquarters Inspector Gunaratne Bandara said five more suspects will be arrested and produced before the magistrate.
Elephant survey results out end of this month: DWC
The results of the elephant survey will be released at the end of this month, according to the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC).
“The survey was completed successfully. We are analysing the data now,” Director General H.D. Ratnayake said. After omitting the “double entries and mistakes” from the collected data sheets, the minimum elephant population will be obtained by calculating the standard deviation, the director said.
Reacting to comments of wildlife biologists on the accuracy of the water hole method that was used in the census, he said, the method was used in the surveys done in 1993, 2004 and 2008. “It is the most convenient method. There are advantages and disadvantages in every method,” Mr. Ratnayake said adding that the elephants were counted from a visible distance.
He said although the estimated cost of the survey was Rs 23 million the actual expenditure would be much less as NGOs and other private institutions had assisted the Department by way of vehicles, fuel and other supplies.