Published on : 12/06/2022 – 19:25
Sri Lanka has been going through the worst economic crisis in its history since the beginning of 2022. The coffers of the State are dried up, the country is in default of payment and can therefore no longer import enough essential products, such as gasoline or medicines. This could seriously affect the health of the inhabitants. The UN has just warned that this could soon lead to a humanitarian crisis.
With our special correspondent in Colombo, Sebastien Farcis
Mr Abhaysingha, with finely combed white hair, waits in the large hall of the oncology ward at Apeksha Hospital, east of Colombo. His wife has just come in for treatment.
« She suffers from lung cancer, he explains, but we have been waiting for two weeks for her to be treated, because the hospital did not have the necessary drugs. Looks like they finally got some today. »
Sri Lanka, short of foreign exchange, cannot buy enough medicines. And that dangerously delays this kind of care.
« Last week there was a shortage of 14 life-saving medicines, relates the surgeon Vasan Ratnasingam, spokesman for the association of public health professionals. Particularly those used for cardiac treatments, respiratory insufficiencies, as well as vaccines against rabies. So far, we have not recorded any deaths due to these shortages, but if they continue, it will happen. »
The worst has therefore been avoided for the moment, above all thanks to the support of neighboring India, which has sent tens of tonnes of drugs in recent weeks. But this aid will not last long and the UN is calling on the international community to take over.
Millions of lives & livelihoods have been hit hard by the economic crisis in Sri Lanka.
We have launched an appeal for US$47M to address the immediate needs of 1.7M people most affected. But development support is also required to prevent this from sliding into a bigger crisis. pic.twitter.com/PrEXqRHOxe
— Martin Griffiths (@UNReliefChief) June 10, 2022