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Doctors say the lack of medicine in Sri Lanka is a death sentence for some

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Doctors say the lack of medicine in Sri Lanka is a death sentence for some

Shortage of medicines in Sri Lanka caused by the economic crisis could soon result in deaths, according to doctors, as hospitals are forced to postpone life-saving procedures for their patients due to the lack of drugs.

Sri Lanka imports more than 80% of its medical supplies, but as the country’s foreign currency reserves deplete due to the crisis, essential medications are disappearing from shelves and the healthcare system is on the verge of collapsing.

Patients, their loved ones, and doctors at the 950-bed Apeksha cancer hospital in the outskirts of Colombo’s commercial capital feel increasingly helpless because of shortages that are forcing the suspension of tests and the postponement of procedures including critical surgery.

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“It is extremely harmful to cancer patients,” Dr. Roshan Amaratunga said.

“Sometimes, we plan for surgeries in the morning, but we may not be able to do them that day… because (supplies) are not available.”

Several patients will face a virtual death sentence if the situation does not improve quickly, he said.

Covid-19, which is wreaking havoc on the tourism-dependent economy, rising oil prices, populist tax cuts, and a ban on the import of chemical fertilisers, which has devastated agriculture, have all contributed to Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis since 1948.

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About 180 items, including injections for dialysis patients, medicine for transplant patients, and certain cancer drugs, are running out, according to a government official working on medical supply procurement.

According to the official, Saman Rathnayake, supplies are being provided by India, Japan, and multilateral donors, but delivery could take up to four months.

Meanwhile, he said, Sri Lanka has appealed to private donors both at home and abroad for assistance.

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World Blood Donor Day is today. Why it’s crucial

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World Blood Donor Day is today. Why it’s crucial

The World blood donor day is observed every year on June 14 with an aim to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products. The day also highlights the critical contribution that voluntary and unpaid blood donors make to the health systems to save lives, as per the WHO.

The day also aims to increase the collection of blood from voluntary, unpaid donors and manage access to blood and transfusion services across the world.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that blood and blood products be given to patients suffering from bleeding associated with pregnancy and childbirth, as well as children suffering from severe anaemia and inherited disorders of haemoglobin in order to improve their chances of survival after accidents and emergencies.

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Every day, several lives are saved by transfusion performed with safe blood and blood products. Reportedly, while the need for blood is universal, access to it is not. Blood shortages are particularly acute in low- and middle-income countries, World Health Organization says.

The slogan and theme for the 2022 World Blood Donor Day is ‘Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives’. Mexico will host the day through its National Blood Centre. The global event will be held in the city of Guadalajara on June 14.

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