By | 26 Aug 2022 at 9:44 AM

The World Health Organization (WHO) has pledged to provide essential medical supplies worth USD 4 million to Sri Lanka. In a congratulatory message to Ranil Wickremesinghe on being appointed as President, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pledged to deliver essential medical supplies valued at USD 4 million, according to Colombo Gazette.

“To this end, I am pleased to inform you that I have tasked the WHO Health Emergencies Programme to take immediate action to meet the most urgent health needs of the people of Sri Lanka. In collaboration with WHO’s Regional and Country Offices, as well as the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health and other relevant ministries, WHO will procure and deliver essential medical supplies valued at USD 4 million. Procurement has already been initiated and the list, including delivery times will be shared through the WHO Country Office,” he said. WHO Director-General also said that they have recognised the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka and the impact Covid-19 was having on the health system.

The WHO Director-General also said that the WHO will closely monitor the health risks to the population including the functionality and resilience of the health system and provide the necessary technical assistance to strengthen provincial health services, reported Colombo Gazette. Reeling from the economic crisis, the healthcare sector of Sri Lanka is also under stress.

Notably, Sri Lanka is facing an unprecedented medicines supply shortage while people have hit the street against the government to protest the ongoing economic crisis. With many Sri Lankans experiencing extreme shortages of essentials including food and fuel, peaceful protests began in March. The protests led then-Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign on May 9, and his brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to flee the country on July 13 and resign the following day.

Ranil Wickremesinghe became acting president, and parliament elected him as the new president on July 20 with the support of the Rajapaksas’ political party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna. He had previously described some protesters as “fascists” and declared a state of emergency on July 18. On July 21, Wickremesinghe issued an order to “call out with effect from July 22, 2022, all the members of the Armed Forces . . . for the maintenance of public order.”

Under emergency powers, the president can override, amend, or suspend a provision of any law, except the Constitution. Emergency powers can be used to detain people while bypassing the ordinary process of the courts and have repeatedly been used in the past to enable human rights violations. (ANI)

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