India Gifts Large Consignment of Drugs and Medical Supplies to Sri Lankan Hospital: Indian High Commission

India on Friday responded to a Sri Lankan hospital’s call for urgent medical supplies by delivering a large consignment of important drugs with the help of an Indian Navy ship, the Indian High Commission here said. The help from India came following an urgent appeal this month by the Sri Lanka’s government doctors association seeking medicines to supplement hospitals in the island nation amidst its worst economic crisis that has left the country with an acute shortage of drugs.

The Government Medical Officers’ Association, which is the doctor’s trade union, also opened up a portal seeking donations of medicines and consumables as part of their initiative to bring at least a temporary relief to the medicine shortage in such a time. On Friday, the Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay handed over the large consignment of drugs and other medical supplies to Channa Jayasumana, Minister of Health.

The Indian Naval Ship Ghariyal was specially deployed for ensuring expeditious delivery of the medical consignment, a gift from the people of India, the High Commission said. These medical supplies are in response to the request from Teaching Hospital, Peradeniya. Shortage of essential supplies in the Teaching Hospital-was noted by External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar during his visit to Sri Lanka in March 2022, said the statement.

More medical consignments in response to specific requests by various medical entities operating in all parts of Sri Lanka are also being scheduled from India. In addition, USD 200 million has been earmarked for the supply of medical supplies under the USD 1 billion credit line for essential commodities like food, medicine etc.

India has been extending expeditious support to Sri Lanka in the recent past. Overall economic assistance which stands close to USD 3 billion in 2022 alone has been of various kinds USD 1 billion credit line for essentials; USD 500 million credit line for purchase of petroleum products; USD 400 million bilateral currency swap; and over USD 1 billion under the Asian Clearing Union Framework. The USD 1 billion credit line is operational and 16,000 MT of rice has already reached Sri Lanka, among other items, under this credit line.

The health sector trade unions have warned that state-run hospitals are running out of essential medicine and medical equipment while the shortage threatens a major health crisis.

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