【World】Sri Lanka almost out of medicine

Sri Lanka witnessed several protests over the worsening economic crisis. On Saturday, 9 April, protestors flocked to Colombo's seafront promenade and surrounded the Presidential Secretariat, waving the national lion flag and chanting "go home Gota.", calling President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to step down. Photo: REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

By Al Mayadeen Net | Source: Agencies

Doctors in Sri Lanka warn of a death toll that could be worse than the one caused by the pandemic, due to the loss of medicines.

On Sunday, doctors in Sri Lanka alerted about the worsening economic crisis which has caused life-saving medicines to almost run out, threatening a death toll that could be worse than the one during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) stated that the country’s hospitals no longer have access to imported vital drugs and medical tools, which obliged several facilities to stop routine surgeries since the month of March, especially due to the lack of anesthetics. The SLMA added that even emergency surgeries may stop very soon.

“We are made to make very difficult choices. We have to decide who gets treatment and who will not,” the association said Sunday after it released a letter that was earlier sent to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to warn him of the situation.

“If supplies are not restored within days, the casualties will be far worse than from the pandemic.”


Protests over the worsening situation, calls for president to resign

Consequently, the public was angry and the island has seen large protests urging Rajapaksa to resign.

Business leaders joined the protesters on Saturday and called the president to step down.

Sri Lanka has been suffering its worst downturn since the island’s independence in 1948. Weeks of power blackouts and critical shortages of food, pharmaceuticals, and fuel have brought the people to the streets.

Men and women flocked to Colombo’s seafront promenade and surrounded the Presidential Secretariat, waving the national lion flag and chanting “go home Gota.”

Others held cards that read “enough is enough” and “it’s time for you to leave.”

Rajapaksa’s government is seeking an IMF bailout to help free Sri Lanka from the crisis, and finance ministry officials said sovereign bond-holders may have to take a haircut as the island seeks to restructure its debt.

On Friday, the new finance minister Ali Sabry said he expects $3 billion from the IMF to support Sri Lanka’s balance of payments in the coming three years.


Sri Lankan cabinet resigns as economic crisis sparks more protests

All 24 ministers of Sri Lanka’s cabinet have resigned from their posts on April 3, while the President and his brother the Prime Minister stayed on, amid protests and clashes in the capital, Colombo.

As anger mounted in the South Asian nation, Sri Lanka instituted a social media blackout and curfew in order to quell protests, but people kept protesting, and authorities arrested 644 people who violated the curfew. 

Sri Lanka has been facing a severe shortage of fuel, paper, food, as well as record inflation rates.

The ministers submitted their resignations at a late-night meeting, clearing the way for the President to appoint a new cabinet on Monday. Some of those that resigned may be reappointed.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared Saturday a nationwide state of public emergency in light of protests over the country’s worst economic crisis since its independence, which has paralyzed Colombo’s ability to provide the citizens with electricity and even hit the healthcare sector really hard.

The Colombo Gazette reported that the police arrested 644 people in Western Province during the night for violating the curfew imposed by the government over fears of a coup and the ousting of President Rajapaksa. Protestors had called for his resignation during their demonstrations as they face shortages and soaring inflation.


This article was published in Al-Mayadeen Media Network, an independent Arab news channel launched in 2012, and is reprinted in truereport.hk with the consent from the network.

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