in the middle of Economic crisis pushed the country towards default, health care system in Sri Lanka now on the edge of Collapse.
It was Roseanne White first diagnosed with Cancer eight years ago and lost a kidney. After the cancer came back five years ago, an oncologist in The commercial capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo on bevacizumab last Mai, treat was responding to him.
white, 58-year- A aged Sri Lankan retired, said she received the injections for free of charge as part of international country government The health of the system that the vast majority of 22 million people Depends on.
but after 13 rounds of White said that now she can’t find the syringe in government Hospitals.
Bevacizumab costs LKR 113,000 ($359) per shot in The private market Because she doesn’t have insurance, White said the costs were taking a toll on her limited savings.
“We should we should call hospital before going in for Find a cure out If our medication is available, “But what do you do when the nurses say the hospital doesn’t have the drug?” White told Reuters.
white struggle To find bevacizumab in Country-run Early facilities sign of how Healthcare in Sri Lanka system On the verge of collapsing, under the weight of The worst economic crisis in the island nation. In addition to the deficiency of Vital medicines, and some procedures and tests have been suspended.
shortage of foreign currency has left President Gotabaya Rajapaksa government Unable to import necessities including medicine and fuel, causing paralysis power Discounts and fetch thousands of Demonstrators took to the streets, calling for his overthrow.
Reuters spoke to two government officials, six Doctors and healthcare union Leader who They said they did not see the health of Sri Lanka system in like that bad way before.
An internal note from a major countryrun hospital in Only emergency surgeries and surgeries for trauma and malignancies will be performed from April 7 onwards, Colombo said. of loss of Surgical supplies.
The Sri Lankan Ministry of Health did not respond to detailed questions from Reuters about problems facing sector.
The economy which is highly dependent on Tourism, has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and hit sharply rise in oil prices in waking up of the war in Ukraine that has made Importing unsustainable fuel.
Some analysts have also Rajapaksa management swipe for that it decision in 2019 to make deep tax cuts, postpone talks with International Monetary Fund. These negotiations are now moving forward.
An aide close to the Rajapaksas family said earlier that the tax cuts were so designed to boost economybut that COVID-19 hit then.
Sri Lanka has now just $1.93 billion in Foreign exchange reserves, equivalent of Less than a month imports, while government debt repayment of twice who – which amount Scheduled in 2022.
Sri Lankan Medical Association, the oldest medical specialist in the country bodywrote to Rajapaksa last week warning That even emergency treatments must stop in Coming days.
“This will result in catastrophic number of The association said.
Five critical minutes
In late March, a 70-year-old woman was pushed into a governmentTertiary care hospital support in A suburb of Colombo. The patient It was in septic shock, leading To seriously lower blood pressure.
The doctor deals with emergency said patient Ideally to be injected with albumin;
“In this case, it was not available,” the doctor said, who declined He is being identified because hospital medical staff are not authorized to speak to media. “Which means I lost five crucial minutes.”
The patient Died, said the doctor.
Outside of 1325 properties government provides the state-run Hospitals, three completely life-saving drugs run out and 140 other basic in lack of supply secretary To the Sri Lankan Ministry of Medicines said.
“This will not end in Two months, Saman Rathnayake told Reuters dollar The crisis will go away on. “
but he added who – which new sources of can display help Immediate deficiency relief.
Some medicines ordered through a line of credit with neighboring India, which supplies 80% of Island requirements, most likely arrive Within two weeks.
“If this Indian credit line succeeds, there won’t be issue for The next six months,” Ratnayake said.
Beyond that, Sri Lanka has sought help From the World Health Organization, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. “Their things will come after that six months, “This is how We planned. “
Burning to for Supplies, some doctors’ kits made public pleas for donations.
Management out of Endotracheal (ET) tubes used help Newborns with Dyspnea, perinatal association of Sri Lanka released list of Supplies that can be donated via Ministry of Health.
“We have used almost all stocks and ET tubes will not be used available in Few weeks,” said the association’s president, Saman Kumara in Shared message on social media.
“I have instructed (the staff) not to throw away the used ET tubes but to clean and sterilize them from now on as we may have to reuse them.”
a list of out-of- Inventory supplies from the main state -run hospital in Southern Colombo, seen by Reuters featured more From 40 items, including urethral catheters of various types of Tubes, umbilical cord clips and glucose test strips used for Check blood sugar levels.
‘We are fighting’
crowd of Wait for the sick on Plastic chairs and wooden benches inside a large brightly lit hall in a major government hospital in North Colombo late last week.
The hospital that registers about 50,000 patient visits every month with crew of just over 2500, is one of The country’s major urban health facilities serving multiple regions, and official She said.
‘We’re still fighting’ official He said, asking not to be named and the hospital. “But I don’t know how For a long time we can maintain services.”
Last August, as early signs of Crisis became brewing clearThe official The hospital said it halted major infrastructure improvements and renovations, diverting money to the beach up Medical supplies.
In recent weeks, after Sri Lanka devalued its currency amid rising inflation, official . said cost of Medical supplies increased by 30%-40% which increased the pressure on Finance of the hospital, already About 350 million rupees ($1.11 million) in debt.
In general, the government It owes about 4 billion rupees to suppliers of items Like gloves And the reagents used for A medical test, said Ratnayake of the Ministry of Medicines.
Ravi Komudisch, President of The Association of Medical Laboratory Technologists said tests are down 30%, with Some advanced tests have stopped completely. maintenance of equipment like Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines she has also I’m late.
“There is a gap between treatment A patient should Komodes told Reuters.
“no one He is being charged. Although we do not count the numbers, people be dying,” He said.
in an interview with Reuters on Saturday, Sri Lanka new Finance Minister Ali Sabri told him first The priority was to stabilize the show of Necessities are like medicines.
But for The patients like white, acclimatization with The crisis is getting tougher. Slow-release morphine tablets for pain control are often not available, she said.
“The other day my son Went to get it and came back White said.
“I feel so helpless… I can’t even go to a demonstration.”