A shortage of lenses is the latest addition to the numerous issues being claimed in the local health sector.

This is despite an assurance by the Health Ministry that lens transplant surgeries are taking place as per normal.

However, a ministry database on the availability of medicines and medical equipment recorded at 5.00 pm yesterday (05) that there were no stocks of lenses.


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IMAGE: BBC Sinhala


According to health sector trade unions, local hospitals need around 15,000 lenses per month for transplantation.

President of the health professionals union Ravi Kumudesh said an efficient procurement by the ministry should ensure lenses are supplied at normal prices.

However, lenses are now being bought at higher prices, with more than Rs. 200 million being spent in excess and no one taking the responsibility, he said.

Under normal prices, a lens costs between Rs. 8,000 and Rs. 9,500, but emergency purchases means it is priced at between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 30,000, said Kumudesh.

In the meantime, director of the medical supplies division Dr. Kapila Wickramanayake said hospitals have been issued with lenses required until November.

Six months’ of requirement was distributed in May courtesy the ADB, he claimed.

Dr. Wickramanayake said they had stocks for two more months as well.

The State Pharmaceuticals Corporation that makes the purchases has sent out two more orders to the suppliers, said its general manager Dinusha Dassanayake.


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