India, Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour had offered $1 billion credit line to purchase fuel, food and medicines. Since January India has provided nearly $2.5 billion financial assistance….writes Susitha Fernando
Suffered by economic crisis with inflation and dried foreign reserves, Sri Lanka’s ailing healthcare with major shortage of some of the most essential and life-savings drugs, India has once again come to the rescue of the island nation.
The Sri Lankan government has admitted that orders on medicines and equipment could not be placed as it failed to open Letter of Credit (LoC) due to the financial crisis.
“As a solution to the current crisis, firstly LoCs to obtain medicines and medicinal equipment, could be opened using India’s credit line,” Director General of the Department of Government Information, Mohan Samaranayake, said.
India, Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour had offered $1 billion credit line to purchase fuel, food and medicines. Since January India has provided nearly $2.5 billion financial assistance.
Sri Lanka has also received $10 million from the World Bank to purchase medicines, Samaranayake added.
“In addition discussions are continuing to get aids or medicines from the World Health Organisation and Asian Development Bank. As a further measure, Sri Lankan heath authorities and the health trade unions have urged Sri Lankans living expatriates,” the DG Information said.
Economic and political crisis leading to health disaster, Sri Lanka is facing an acute shortage of some of the life-saving drugs, specially used for cardiac, cancer and kidney patients.
A few days ago neonatologists appealed for the urgent medical supplies to save newborn infants in the emergency care.
The World Bank, which has given $10 million for urgent medical supplies, on Wednesday announced Sri Lanka’s economic outlook is highly uncertain due to the fiscal and external imbalances.
“Urgent policy measures are needed to address the high levels of debt and debt service, reduce the fiscal deficit, restore external stability, and mitigate the adverse impacts on the poor and vulnerable, says the World Bank in its twice-a-year regional update,” World Bank said.
“The World Bank is deeply concerned about the uncertain economic outlook in Sri Lanka and the impact on people,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
“We are working on providing emergency support for poor and vulnerable households to help them weather the economic crisis and we remain committed to the well-being of the people of Sri Lanka, and to a narrative of sustainable and inclusive growth that will require concerted and collective action,” he added.