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Oppo. to take health ‘crisis’ to Sept.’s UNHRC

Oppo. to take health ‘crisis’ to Sept.’s UNHRC

23 Aug 2023 | BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Opposition Parliamentary groups led by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) are to inform the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session, to be held next month (September), about the crisis that has arisen in the country's health sector.

The country's health sector is currently in a state of crisis due to several issues such as the shortage of pharmaceutical drugs and medical equipment, the frequent deaths due to the alleged use of substandard drugs, the migration of medical professionals including medical specialists, and the various issues faced by healthcare professionals.

Speaking to The Daily Morning yesterday (22), SJB Parliamentarian, Dr. Kavinda Heshan Jayawardhana said that he, together with Opposition MP, attorney Wasantha Yapabandara, had visited the United Nations (UN) Office in Colombo yesterday to hand over a letter regarding the health sector crisis in the country. "The people including us have been urging the Government and the other relevant authorities for months to look into this crisis and provide immediate solutions, but, they are playing with the people's lives without heeding any of our demands." He said that handing over a detailed letter on the matter to the UN Office in Colombo yesterday was the initial step in reaching the international community to get them to pressurise the Government to solve the health sector crisis. "We will be informing all the relevant international organisations regarding the Government's lack of interest in ensuring the people's right to life. Importantly, a few Opposition MPs will be attending the UNHRC session to be held in Geneva, Switzerland in September in order to brief the attendees about the situation."

The serious economic crisis that emerged in the country rapidly turned into a health crisis, and caused shortages of many types of drugs and medical supplies. While the situation was subsiding to some extent with the support of donations from several parties such as the World Health Organisation, the country saw the import of substandard drugs and the relevant authorities such as the Health Ministry and the National Medicines Regulatory Authority have been accused of not having acted to prevent such. There have been several deaths of patients due to allergies caused by such drugs. Against that backdrop, the issue of medical professionals leaving the country emerged, and the same has resulted in severe shortages of staff at Government hospitals. 

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