Colombo, June 3: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed Health ministry officials to release LKR 1.8 billion (US$ 5 million) from the COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund for importing essential medicines.
These funds were received from donors to control the Coronavirus Disease. The President said that the money could be used for health needs as the COVID-19 epidemic is now under control.
234 types of medicines required for hospitals are manufactured locally. Drug prices continue to increase in the world market sharply. In view of this situation, the President pointed out the need for rapidly increasing local pharmaceutical manufactures and obtain the necessary raw materials under the Indian credit line.
The President made these remarks at a discussion held at the President’s House in Colombo on Friday.
There are 12 investors in the pharmaceutical sector in the Oyamaduwa and Millewa area in Horana. Production in those factories is expected to begin in the next few months. It has the potential to produce more than 200 types of drugs, officials said.
‘The Ministry of Samurdhi and Education is planning to provide a nutritious meal to primary school children and pregnant mothers’, the President said.
The import of medicines and medical equipment is being funded from several sources. It is planned to allocate the required funds from the proposed budget as well. Officials pointed out that based on the current progress in the health sector it would return to normal within the next three months.
Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella, , President’s Chief of Staff, Anura Dissanayake, Finance Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena, S.J.S. Chandragupta, Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Additional Secretary Dr. Saman Ratnayake and Heads of Line Institutions of the Ministry were also present at the discussion.