Health sector trade unions have said 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. 14,000 million 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 Pollonnaruwa hospitals.
HSTUA Convener Saman Ratnapriya has told the media that the recently received medical equipment were of no use today since it was required to perform surgeries for severe gun shot injuries.
He has said there are shortages in theCancerHospitalfor eight varieties of drugs such as Fludarabin, Dextrose and Nystatin while in theKandyHospitalthere 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 updates since 2001. The index lists down 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.