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Sri Lanka’s fragile health will be saved by India’s line of credit

Colombo– Suffering from an economic crisis with inflation and dried up foreign exchange reserves, Sri Lanka’s struggling healthcare with a major shortage of some of the most essential and life-saving medicines, India has once again come to the rescue of the island nation.

The Sri Lankan government has admitted that orders for medicines and equipment could not be placed because it had not opened a letter of credit (LoC) due to the financial crisis.

“As a solution to the current crisis, firstly lines of credit for obtaining medicines and medical equipment could be opened using India’s line of credit,” the director general of the Department of Government Information said. , Mohan Samaranayake.

India, Sri Lanka’s closest neighbor, had offered a billion dollar line of credit to buy fuel, food and medicine. Since January, India has provided nearly $2.5 billion in financial assistance.

Sri Lanka also received $10 million from the World Bank to purchase drugs, Samaranayake added.

“In addition, discussions are continuing to obtain aid or medicine from the World Health Organization and the Asian Development Bank. As an additional measure, Sri Lankan health authorities and health unions have urged Sri Lankans living abroad,” DG Information said.

With an economic and political crisis resulting in a health catastrophe, Sri Lanka is facing a severe shortage of some of the life-saving drugs, especially used for heart, cancer and kidney patients.

A few days ago, neonatologists appealed for urgent medical supplies to save newborn babies in emergency care.

The World Bank, which has donated $10 million for urgent medical supplies, said on Wednesday that Sri Lanka’s economic outlook is highly uncertain due to fiscal and external imbalances.

“Urgent policy measures are needed to address high levels of debt and debt service, reduce the fiscal deficit, restore external stability, and mitigate the adverse effects on the poor and vulnerable,” the World Bank said in a statement. its semi-annual regional update. “, said the World Bank.

“The World Bank is deeply concerned about the uncertain economic outlook in Sri Lanka and its impact on people,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

“We are working to provide emergency assistance to poor and vulnerable households to help them overcome the economic crisis and we remain committed to the well-being of the people of Sri Lanka and a narrative of sustainable and inclusive growth which will require concerted action. and collective action,” he added. (IANS)