21 September, 2019

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Another White Elephant For Sri Lankan Health Sector

By Sanka Dassanayake –

In the climax of catastrophes in the health service due to non-availability of nearly 300 essential medicines in the country, Ministry of Health has initiated another white elephant project.

Minister of Health – Rajitha Senaratne

The project of drones to transport essential medicines and blood is an extremely costly project which the government has already initiated. Zipline, the US company to which the project is granted has already advertised for recruiting flight operators for Sri Lanka drone delivery.

Drones are used in countries such as Haiti, to deliver food aid and medical supplies to areas hit by disaster. For countries with poor transportation facilities and natural barriers this technology might be useful. In Rwanda drones are used for emergency blood transport by the same US company, apparently which the ministry high officials have visited for supervision. 

Unlike in other countries, which the drones are in use, Sri Lanka has an established road and transportation system without natural barriers, to transport all essential medicines and blood. Sri Lanka’s blood transfusion service has located over hundred blood banks across the country. Since this service is coordinated island wide, blood stocks are  managed in common pool nationally. The system is structured to ensure the blood availability across the country, hence drone delivery project will only be a white elephant for the country. 

It is not possible to replace the existing blood banks from this project as there has to be a well-equipped blood bank to test the blood for compatibility for the patient before any blood transfusion. The needs assessment of this project appears to be a failure. 

If such a system is required for transporting essential items, the technology is still available within the country. Drones are being manufactured in the University of Moratuwa. They also have given the technology for overseas. Adopting this technology from the University of Moratuwa would have at least made some financial sense, withstanding the senselessness of the concept of using drones for drug transportation in a country like Sri Lanka.   

In the out of stock situation of essential medicines this project of fast delivery system is a yarn. It is quite surprising why the Government Medical Officers’ Association acts blind to this drone project, especially in the contest of overlooking the threat to the civil security which the project could be bring in. 

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Latest comments

  • 15
    2

    Sanka Dissanayake
    I don’t know to what degree the drone transport system will alter the status quo, with regards to present medical logistics.
    But I can tell you for sure;
    (1) having an additional option to what is available currently will not be bad.
    (2) We should stop looking at ourselves like a highly impoverished nation and be more positive in our ways.
    (3) we should keep sentiment aside and look forward to change. Look how other countries are making advances. We should advance our technology and our facilities. There is nothing wrong with that.
    (4) We should stop self sabotage by sighting example that we are poor and try to maintain an archaic system rather than embrace change. Change is inevitable.

    • 1
      1

      Sanka Dissanayaka,
      In case you don’t know, drone-making nowadays is not a high tech business that requires eggheads from Moratuwa University. Just visit First Cross St. and you can buy all the parts you need. Just as the Moratuwa eggheads do.
      Also what “security” are you talking about?. Looks like a page out of Gota’s book.

    • 7
      2

      Drones should be banned in Sri Lanka. For security reasons especially after the Easter Sunday carnage organized by US and Saudi owned, funded and operated IS, that have caused also countless deaths in Afghanistan, drones should be banned in Sri Lanka. US drones have killed numerous people in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the US is using health sector to gain military drone access in Sri Lanka in its Cold War on China in the Indian Ocean
      http://pu.edu.pk/images/journal/politicsAndInternational/PDF/4_v_1_2_15.pdf

      • 6
        0

        Corrupt Rajith Seneviratne who also destroyed Fisheries livelihoods and sold contracts to French and EU trawlers to loot Sri Lankan marine resources when he was Fisheries Minister should be impeached and imprisoned without bail for corruption.

    • 0
      0

      Gemini Cricket: Stop being a fool.Since 1977 nothing happened in this country with a santhosam to the minister in charge and the acolytes.

      There is a system to maintain stocks, with the Fax machines and emails and the internet that should be easy.The Deputy Director supplies should have a system by which he can trace the movement of drugs and warn him of shortages.

      Do not bulshit. Somebody – not necessarily Rajitha got a commission.

  • 12
    0

    We can prosper without drones, but not without honest efficient politicians.

  • 8
    6

    This article is a typical Srilankan negative thought to any innovative moves. Even when the 1990 ambulance service was introduced, there were so many negative sentiments. But, now this ambulance service is providing an excellent service to the needy and saving so many lives. We should greatly appreciate Dr. Senaratne for the courage he has to continue doing a great service, in spite of these obstructions.

    • 0
      0

      Bharatha – How much did you get or are you the person who own the drones or hired the drones or import the drones?

  • 7
    0

    Sanka Dissanayake, Moratuwa University has not only made drones but has made cars as well in their labs, why don’t you yourself use one of those, instead of using an imported car.

    • 0
      0

      kalinga, Do not be fool.The ruling cabal will kill you for using a locally made car. they loose their santhosams.

  • 3
    1

    This article seems to be a PAID POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT for fools.

    • 0
      0

      kalinga, Do not be fool.The ruling cabal will kill you for using a locally made car. they loose their santhosams.

  • 1
    0

    Well the fact is innovation is a wonderful thing .BUT when we lack lot of immunisation given
    Now only in private sector.
    Lots of basic things not available.
    We need to correct them first .
    Then if we have money left get the drones .
    But no drones while our children while our children GROAN .
    Of course we are very innovative when it comes to making money off contracts

  • 5
    1

    Is Rajitha Senarathne the most corrupt minister of Sri Lanka?

    • 0
      0

      There has been a huge cut out outside Osu Sala Town Hall for the last several months , of the greatest Health Minister of all time .
      Partially hidden by the massive cut of the Minister beaming , dressed in lily white are the dirty , unwashed,unpainted walls of Osu Sala .
      The story of the nation .

    • 1
      0

      No, Ravi K is possibly the most corrupt, Rajitha S. in the top 5 though.

  • 1
    0

    Drones? Sounds like a super commission-generating wheeze.

  • 2
    0

    “PAGA” stupid is the answer.
    That’s what makes SL go broke and politicians rich and happy.

  • 1
    0

    Quoted from another writer/journalist:
    “Four years and eight months of the Maithripala Presidency that the UNP championed and the four years of the UNP- led -Yahapalanaya are not the best examples of go-getter governance. The momentum and a sense of urgency in infrastructure development have withered away. Chinese investment bonanza was mishandled. Finally, Islamic terrorists attacked, killing 250 Easter worshippers and tourists, and reigniting the memories and fear psychosis of a little more than a decade ago. Numerous intelligence failures that led to the Easter attacks questioned the competency of the government.”
    If you investigate Rajitha’s deals there will be a lot more to be added to the above quote. His brainless utterances along with his MP son’s stupid talks (if you remember from 2015 onward) have mainly led to the current unfix-able unpopularity of the UNP.

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