GMOA declares medical emergency

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) has declared a medical emergency due to the shortage of essential medicines and equipment brought about by the economic crisis in Sri Lanka.

This was made known through a media release yesterday (5) by the GMOA at a meeting that was held with the association leaders.

“The association leaders discussed the severe shortage of medical equipment and essential medicines in all government hospitals islandwide. The shortage of fuel and the recurrent power cuts has made it very difficult for hospitals to maintain patient care on a daily basis. The Ministry of Health and the Government have failed to make plans to prevent the imminent collapse of the health service, as the free health service maintained by the people is not considered a priority of the country,” the statement read.

It further mentioned that ensuring the right of the people to life and health is an inalienable responsibility of a government, which the present Government, along with the Ministry of Health has so far failed to uphold the fundamental rights of the people.

“The failure of the Ministry of Health to make the necessary precautionary measures, despite forecasting this crisis, which is particularly threatening to the lives of the public, is a serious issue. Although the Government has declared health services as an essential service, the basic essential medicines required to maintain those essential services are in shortage. The failure of the Government and the Ministry of Health, including the Secretary to the Ministry of Health, to even provide equipment and facilities shows the inefficiency and inability of the authorities,” the statement further read.

Further, the statement mentioned that it was the sole responsibility of the Government and the Ministry of Health to provide the medicines and equipment required to maintain the general patient care services, but in the midst of the economic crisis caused by the poor financial management of the Government, the maintenance of patient care services is now in dire straits.

“Due to this, a state of emergency has arisen in the country. Accordingly, the GMOA has decided to declare a state of health emergency in the country due to the Government’s failure to ensure the right to life of the people in the face of poor financial management. It was decided to give priority to emergency cases and emergency treatment and to determine at the hospital level the committees to be set up, to ensure that the drugs and equipment in the hospital system are well managed and taken care of,” the statement read.

The GMOA statement also mentioned that steps will be taken to make the public aware of this emergency health disaster created by poor financial management.

“Committees consisting of religious leaders, trade unions, and civilians will be formed to organise public awareness campaigns and leaflet distribution at the branch level. Branch associations will also convene local media briefings to raise public awareness of the shortage of drugs at the hospital level. It also decided to take stern action against the Government if it fails to secure the necessary funding and financial support to maintain the health service,” the GMOA statement mentioned.

Meanwhile, according to the statement, the GMOA has observed that politicians are trying to protect themselves by imposing a state of emergency in the face of growing public opposition and that the Government is violating the right of the people to express their views as well as the right to protest within the framework of democracy. The GMOA strongly objected to this and decided to force the Government to immediately lift the emergency regulations.

“It was also reaffirmed that the entire membership of the GMOA is ready to stand up for the right to life of the public by providing the necessary health services in the event of any potential health disaster in the country,” the statement concluded.