Sri Lanka govt hospitals prioritising critical surgeries over routine procedures

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state health sector has temporarily halted routine surgeries and prioritised immediate and critical surgeries due to shortages in medicine and medical equipment, officials said.

“We have had to stop routine surgeries and focus on life saving surgeries because of shortages in the health industry in terms of medication and equipment,” Dr Hasitha Althuge of the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said.

Sri Lanka is going through the worst currency crisis in the history of its central bank, leading to shortages in, among other things, medicines and medical equipment.

Deputy Director General of Public Health Services Hemantha Herath told EconomyNext: “This situation is not new, it has been ongoing for a few months and the Ministry of Health is also aware of the postponement of non-critical surgeries.

“Any surgery or intervention that can be postponed will be halted at this moment because no harm will be done,” he said.

Depending on the severity of the patient’s condition, only urgent surgeries will be performed in order to preserve equipment and medication. Sri Lanka has received donations and aid from friendly nations, which are being utilised by the health sector for surgeries and operations.

“Surgeries are not cancelled but they have been postponed. Everyone knows there is an issue and there is a need to manage resorucs. Eeryone must understand if resources are exhausted then it will have a significant impact on life saving situations.”

Sri Lanka’s Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella has also instructed health officials to relax regulations and conventions to maintain a steady supply of medicines.

Rambukwella has said any shortage the relevant departments of health should take responsibility to eradicate issues within the health sector, a ministry statement said last week. (Colombo/Sep16/2022)

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