Substandard PPEs adding costs to Health Ministry: Kumudesh

  • Notes health workers cannot remain in kits for long due to poor-quality material

By Dinitha Rathnayaka

The purchase of sub-standard personal protective equipment (PPE) from a local private consortium has proven an additional cost burden to the Ministry of Health, charged College of Medical Laboratory Science President Ravi Kumudesh.

Speaking to The Morning, he noted it is difficult to use these kits for long hours due to the low quality.

He questioned: “Ministry officials are only considering the low price, but what about the opportunity cost and the end users?”

Kumudesh added that a number of complaints have been lodged by healthcare workers regarding the quality of the products.

“We have to wear the PPE kits for at least six hours a day, but in the current situation, we are unable to do that. We have to change our PPE kits every four hours. It is an additional cost for the Government.”

He also said that the Ministry must have given a low specification range to the supplier for low-cost PPE kits.

“The ministry’s technical team has to be responsible for this,” he added.

This purchase was processed by the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) despite complaints lodged by healthcare personnel within the Health Ministry’s Medical Supplies Division (MSD) regarding the quality of the previously supplied stocks.

The All-Ceylon Nurses’ Union (ACNU) alleged that the quality of the material out of which the PPE was made was unsuitable for the local climate, noting that therefore, most of the healthcare workers engaged in Covid-19 treatment had complained that they could not remain in the kit for even an hour.

According to available statistics, the daily PPE requirement of the health sector is around 15,000, while the daily surgical mask and N-95 mask requirement is around 300,000 and 10,000 respectively.