"NorthEast health infrastructure destroyed in war"- Provincial Official

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 31 December 2003, 14:27 GMT]
The two-decade old war has destroyed the health infrastructure of the northeast province and there is acute dearth of medical officers and para medical staff because of brain drain. The government is also not in a position to train required para medical staff to fill the vacancies existing in the northeast province due to shortage of funds, said the North East Provincial Director of Provincial Health Services Dr.S.Kumaravetpillai presiding over the inaugural event of the External Pharmacists Training Programme (EPTP) in Trincomalee district Tuesday.

Pharmacists Training
( L-R) Guests Mr.Mahalingam, Mr.R.M.S.Ratnayake, Mr.S.Amirthalingam and Dr.Kumaravetpillai at the head table
North East Provincial Governor's Secretary Mr.A.Amirthalingam inaugurated the training programme by lighting the traditional oil lamp. The other guests were Provincial Ministry of Health Mr.R.M.S.Ratnayake and Provincial Deputy Chief Secretary and Project Co-ordinator of the North East Emergency Rehabilitation Project (NEERP) Mt.S.Mahalingam.

The EPTP is being implemented in the northeast by the provincial health ministry under the World Bank funded NEERP at an estimated cost of two million rupees, health officials said.

The aim of the project is to ensure that private pharmacies are manned by qualified pharmacists as at present seventy five percent of more than three hundred private sector pharmacies are run by persons who are not qualified in the field, EPTP project provincial chief co-ordinator Mr.E.Pathmaheswaran said.

Pharmacists Training
Asection of the trainees at the inaugural event
Under the EPTP in each district in the northeast province one hundred youths will be given two-year training and will be allowed to sit pharmacy examination held by the Sri Lanka medical Council. This training has already in operation in the districts of Jaffna and Batticaloa, Dr.Kumaravetpillai said.

After two years legal action will be taken against all private sector pharmacies in the northeast run by unqualified persons, warned Dr.Kumaravetpillai.

Private pharmacies play a vital role in the sphere of health, as most of the government hospitals and dispensaries are not supplied with more than forty-eight essential drugs due to shortage of funds in the government treasury. As such most of the patients who come to state hospitals rush to private pharmacies to buy life saving drugs with doctors' prescriptions. But due to faulty dispensing by quacks in private pharmacies patients risk their lives. In order to overcome this problem, the provincial health ministry decided first to provide necessary pharmacy training to persons who are employed in private sector, said Dr.Kumaravetpillai.

Pharmacists Training
A section of the trainees with health department officials at the inaugural event

Mr.R.M.S.Ratnayake, Mr.S. Amirthalingam, Mt.S.Mahalingam, Dr.Gnanagunalan, Mr.E.Pathmaheswaran also spoke. Provincial Senior Public Health Inspector Mr.S.Balaskandarajah proposed vote of thanks.


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