29 October, 2020

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Not Quite “Waiting For Godot”

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

Wikipedia describes “Waiting for Godot” “as an absurdist play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone …”

That quote certainly came to mind the other night when I and the rest of the forty-odd “number holders” languished in the corridor of one of the “channel centres” in a provincial capital.

I had symptoms very similar to a friend who had recently been diagnosed with a detached retina and who had had to undergo complicated (and expensive in a private institution) surgery.

I took the usual Sri Lankan route, phoned the “channel centre,” as these places where patients meet consultants are called, and was given a number: eleven, to be exact.

That was a little off-putting because the consultant began seeing patients at 7:30 in the evening and would not, I assumed, go on for too long given the fact that it must have already been a long (professional) day in ward and operating theatre before arrival at “the centre” which, incidentally bears the name of one of those “important” families of that particular city.

My assumptions were to be turned on their head quickly enough.

Despite the fact that I know consultants not to belong in the category of “clock watchers” in the matter of showing up at the times scheduled by them, I arrived a half hour early on a dark and drizzly night which most nights have been for the past little while.

I gave my name, producing, as I always now do, a business card which is expected to do away with the verbal contortions which usually erupt when I have to give that information orally.

Anyway, the officious young lady did get it right, but recorded me only by my first name, something that was not unique to this particular location as I’ve discovered since my return to the country in which I received it.

The fun had only begun.

I moved towards the corridor, jam-packed with humanity awaiting entry into the hallowed chambers in which those who supposedly took the Hippocratic Oath ply their respective trades.

My loss of hearing hasn’t destroyed by ability to read receipts and the one I was given had a female first name. Not a particular problem until I realized that the number allocated to that person was thirty-nine, if I remember right.

Anyway, back to the counter I go in an effort to correct a mistake for which the clerk concerned bore complete responsibility. She, however, appeared most annoyed that I had accepted the wrong receipt and, with a mutter and scowl, dispatched one of her flunkeys in search of the person now carrying a receipt for money paid by Emil and the number eleven on it.

I was pleasantly surprised when quick success was achieved, perhaps because the throng in the corridor had not yet reached proportions when the only practical way to make progress would have been with a battering ram. I swapped the 39 or whatever I was holding for my 11 and the waiting began in earnest. This was a little after 7 p.m. and I expected that, typically, the Hippocratic Oath-taker would be a half-hour to an hour late.

A little aside here might be appropriate at this point: the corridor that served as the point of entry into each consulting room must originally have been intended for about one third the number that was there that night and the seating accommodation confirmed this. In spades.

Let me tell you that shifting from one leg to another for more than an hour is no fun for someone long past the proverbial three score and ten years. However, I got lucky when one of the other vertical patients pointed out a vacant chair at the far end of the corridor. We were now on the cusp of about 8:30 p.m. and I wondered what would happen to what I guessed to be in excess of forty patients, many presumably from out of town and dependent on public transport or a motor bike, particularly given the adverse weather.

Sometime after 9:30 p.m. our Angel of Mercy/Practitioner of the Hippocratic Oath (take your pick) arrived. Just prior to this, I had enquired from the front desk whether, in fact, the person we were all there to see would show up. The translation of what I was told was that “she usually doesn’t not come,” which was, I thought, a fairly quaint way in which to prepare us for the worst if that was to be our fate.

In a very short time, given the fact that there were ten patients ahead of me, I was ushered in and greeted with something to the effect of “What is it this time” which, given the context, would suggest that I was some kind of hypochondriac with an eye obsession.

I was put through the basic examination routine and had drops put into both eyes and asked to sit in a chair in a corner of the consulting room, much like someone who’d been caught with his hand in the teacher’s cookie jar and had been “sent to (that particular) Coventry.” That, however, was to be a short-lived arrangement because “patient processing” needs or something of that kind kicked in and I was kicked out to spend a while in the afore-mentioned corridor, the crush in which had not diminished.

Have you ever seen an elderly man trying to stare ceiling-wards while standing up because of the medication in his eyes required him to do so? “Awkward,” might be one way to describe the situation. “LudicrousRidiculous” would be more accurate.

A lady observing my distress was kind enough to offer me her chair while she stood with no guarantee that when I was called back in she would be able to return to her seat ahead of the more nimble in the throng!

In due course, I was called back in, given a diagnosis which, essentially, didn’t condemn me to blindness in the immediate future but which might, in due course, make Nelson’s telescope of some interest when I reached the inevitable condition.

I was, I am sure, one of the fortunate ones there that night because I not only had private transportation, no matter how modest, but someone who drove me to and from this appointment. It was certainly close to midnight when I reached home and I wondered how late it would be before some of my fellow patients of that night reached their homes. After all I was number 11 and it is anybody’s guess how many of the forty-something numbers would be processed that night and how those souls would, thereafter, find their way home and at what hour.

In case anyone can’t resist (the usual) snide remarks about “spoiled ex-pats” etc., let me put the record straight in advance. As someone who had a seriously sick spouse for many years, I’ve seen the insides of too many hospitals and consulting rooms in three continents to be naive in these matters. And one of those three continents was Asia and the country was Sri Lanka when patients in the public health care system were treated as just that and not as some part of a business equation. Things have got worse in this country and what I have related in the foregoing narrative is just the tip of the iceberg which I also described in an earlier piece about my experience in a “teaching hospital” in another provincial capital.

I am not about to suggest remedies in a piece of this length for an obviously unsatisfactory state of affairs because there are people with a far greater knowledge of public health to whom the answers are only too obvious. However, that is cold comfort in the context of government after government under-funding health care and forcing people to pay for medical services which are then provided them as if it were a privilege for them to see one of those who, presumably, took the Hippocratic Oath and presumably understands what it say.

The foregoing is bad enough without the realization that governments and Ministers of Health just don’t care and, worse yet, these betrayers of public trust have the benefit of a public that has given up and will, seemingly, continue to accept treatment like some supplicants at a manorial table.

Isn’t about time that we all mouth the memorable words of Peter Finch in “Network” and shout from the rooftops, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore?”

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Latest comments

  • 21
    10

    I thought you said “She normally doesn’t come”.

    I think it is a common problem in poor countries like ours, unless you are the lucky ones in Elite class.

    Same goes for the Health Services too.

    You could have booked in to Nawaloka , Taken a nano, Had a couple of Nescafe shots while waiting for the Opthalmo.

    He would have chatted to you in your own dialect too.

    I am so sorry to hear your inconveniences.

    But what about our Dalits and their kids when they need help.

    They have to line up at the OPD in the hot burning Sun.And still can miss out on a number, and forced to repeat it a few times to see one of those doctors.

    But Yahapalanaya is not about Health, Education and the Living Standards of the Poor. Is it?…

    • 8
      7

      [Edited out]

      • 5
        13

        Nellie Winter:
        The kind of person (?) you are is evident in the fact that you use my mother’s maiden name as a pseudonym. “Low life” doesn’t even begin to describe the likes of you, but then, considering the company you keep, why would one be surprised.
        I suppose Colombo Telegraph would do well to deal appropriately with vermin like you, but what with “freedom of the press” etc. one has to take the outpourings of snipe from the gutter with less abusive stuff!

        • 10
          2

          What an outrageous prick you are!.

          You think I used your mother’s maiden name? Bloody hell.

          I am going to change my name by deed Poll tomorrow. [Edited out]

          • 0
            1

            Nellie Winter:
            If you had what goes with the “prick” you have chosen to talk about, you’d come out from under that rock of a pseudonym and display your cojones!

    • 7
      18

      Sumaney:
      Never fails: more idiocies that defy additional categorization from the cretin who thinks repeating “dalits” ad infinitum constitutes literacy.
      Would you like us to send you a rock to replace the one from under which you emerged thanks to Rajapaksa largesse?

      • 19
        9

        Mr Poorten,

        Why do you get so upset when ever I mention dalits?..

        Aren’t they the great majority of the inhabitant population?.

        You think a detached retina is a big issue.

        What about our poor Dalits who are blind because, they can’t afford the LKR 5000 to buy the lenses for the Cataract operation.

        How much did that sheila charge you for the consultation?.

        While the Dalits get shafted by your Yahapalana bosses, you lot keep rimming the latter.

        • 2
          0

          “2Why do you get so upset when ever I mention dalits?..”

          most on CT have the feeling because you are not Mother Theresa but a whiskey drinking , cavier eating bull s**ter.

          Being a Buddhist like Gandhi the pedophile or womanizer like Khan??
          the man who tried to become president of France. (the present Hollande is no different) when socialist parties get powerful they increase their testosterone.

          Love child:Jewish brand.Socialist Party Dominique Strauss-Kahn had a son with an unnamed woman while he was head of the IMF and still married to multi-millionaire art heiress Anne Sinclair. The couple, pictured in 2011, have since divorced

        • 7
          18

          Sumaney:
          Are you writing material on CT for later compilation in the “Idiot’s gudide to the intellect in Sri lanka,” when you say something like “While the Dalits get shafted by your Yahapalana bosses, you lot keep rimming the latter.”

          • 15
            3

            Did You mean the Yahapalana suckers like yourself are the intellectuals …

            But you voted for Bodhi Sira …Right.

            No wonder the Economic Intelligentsia are on Prosac watching how the Singaporean is in to Innovative Bond trading.

            And the Medical Intelligentsia are being ridiculed , challenged and denigrated as imbeciles and nincompoops.by, not the Rotweilar but his Mongrel pup…

            And the mother of all intelligentsia. Batalanda Ranil adopted the pup as the God Son, and shoe honed him in to Parliament as a future UNP leader of the Colombo Elite, Anglicans and the Intelligentsia.

            What are you on, Mr Poorten?…

        • 4
          17

          Sumaney:
          This is about all the time I am prepared to give another of yet another of your stupidities/idiocies.

    • 6
      1

      “”I think it is a common problem in poor countries like ours, unless you are the lucky ones in Elite class.””

      It has nothing to do with poverty of commonwealth nations.

      Its the culture of the commonwealth people in medicine that is being imported to eg NHS UK or NHS UK that is being challenged by us living in the west.

      it is how you see humans and how we see humans and even animals that is being challenged.

      The French, Dutch, Spanish government hospitals are great and at present better than public/private UK hospitals.
      you can call me what the F you like but facts are stubborn- they get jobs using anti racist laws of the west and thrive on it.
      I am yet to hear of an Englishman GP offering a Asian or African partnership in his GP surgery within even 5 years of practice.

      Socialist Party UK is mainly to be blamed for the drain of professionals to the USA, Australia. etc.
      Very rarely I find any Northern European surgeon prepared to work in the UK. There are very few now even from the south Europe. There are many Spanish doctors who work at pubs than come to England.

      and Emil unfortunately with age you have lost bat sense but sight test with drops is to clear the lens(it takes 10-15 mins) so they can inspect better- this is done for diabetics too (we normally have photos taken every year to compare and it can be treated)

      • 3
        16

        Take that:
        I spent 30+ years in a country that has a very good public health care system that doesn’t determine whether you live or die depending on your bank balance. During those three decades, I happened to be one of those who spent time and energy preserving that system. Sri Lanka did have a very good system of public health care which successive governments, under one pretext or another, have destroyed.
        I would suggest that using CT to display your monumental ignorance is hardly a good use of ANYBODY’s time.

        • 11
          2

          Emil van der Poorten
          “I would suggest that using CT to display your monumental ignorance is hardly a good use of ANYBODY’s time. “
          a blog is a blog and if you don’t like it hard luck- i just commented to Hugo Swire and he just responded (when they are wrong i inform them they are wrong). See the difference in your old stupid self- better go back to finishing school because you never graduated like most Lankan Sportsmen. Cricketer Jayawardene drew international respect when he was interviewed because he knew his subject inside out.

          It seems your age is sitting on your head this time not your eyesight.
          perhaps an orthopaedic surgeon cum nuero might assist you. and stop you getting senile after the hard work put in via Rugby and Red Indian.

          I live in the west for almost 50 years and non of us use the public system. I live in the UK at present and have insurance that covers the whole of Eu because we have branches all over europe and i am educated at Europe so i am familiar with Surgeons at Leuven (your grandfather at Belgium.). unlike you with school qualifications spending time with red indians at Canada on a government job.
          i also have relatives at Canada long before you knew Canada and I am aware Nellie Winter Ceylon unrelated to burghers died long before.

          Wind up before yapping sick notes.

          I definitely don’t toe your line of complaints/compensation but i use the system to pick and choose the doctor I need to see.
          that is what the public at Lanka miss so badly. not your stupid trade union activity.

          • 2
            14

            take_that:
            The fact that you choose to bring my mother who died many years ago into your invective speaks volumes of the kind of snipe you are even though it doesn’t clearly identify which gutter it came out of, unfortunately.
            Your idiocies certainly need more than one pseudonym given how vast they are!

            • 0
              0

              [Edited out]

        • 0
          0

          “2Sri Lanka did have a very good system of public health care which successive governments, under one pretext or another, have destroyed.””

          you are asking feathers from tortoise. perhaps your village background is still showing even after the rugby stint at St Peters or another IH from marrikade St Josephs.
          CT says truth is a process so there is no necessity to ram you for arrogance and being “obscured by the fog of political war,” and therefore “insufficiently studied and understood.”

          I was born Col 7 we know the hospitals we had and the cash we paid for consultation to a government surgeon at private practice. They knew the care they were offering and the connection we had to consult them- that was guarantee if anything went wrong they would repeat or use advice of others before attempting. there have been many instances where the body was stitched back with bits of tools ending in puss formation and re operation. This is why i am all for high tech nuclear medicine.

          • 1
            15

            take_what?
            A new high in incoherent stupidity. Seems like Colombo 7 didn’t give you so much as a basic education in English, to boot!

            • 6
              1

              I never came to col 7 to study english its your mind in the boot thats tricking you.
              go do the scrum half or full till your throat runs to the throttle.

        • 6
          1

          Mr Poorten

          “I spent 30+ years in a country that has a very good public health care system that doesn’t determine whether you live or die depending on your bank balance”

          Methinks you are looking at the Canadian healthcare system with rose-tinted glasses and even fonder (if selective), memories. Natural, I suppose, given your association with efforts to ‘preserve” it.

          I have close pal who (along with a multitude of other lost souls) recently spent 6 HOURS in the CORRIDOR of a Toronto hospital on a gurney, with not so much as an aspirin for comfort, while waiting for someone to attend to him.

          On the plus side, after the 911 call, he DID get there in an ambulance in 15 minutes (and a bill was subsequently presented to him for about $90.00 for that privilege).

          Don’t really see where the “Canadian System” is oh-so-much-superior to the Sri Lankan one !!!

          As I understand it, in your awesome Canada people are waiting months and months just to get an appointment to have a specialist look into their particular case and get this, and many don’t even have a GP to refer them to a specialist in the first place !

          Apparently the well-heeled Canadian Dalits are taking off for the US, Cuba and even South Asia where they can pay and get treated immediately (in that case, size of bank-balance definitely DOES dictate continuation of Canadian Life, no ?) Imagine that !!

          Did you know in Sri Lanka, you can go and have a specialist look at you for a few shekels, usually withing a week or so ? Granted, he may be a rude and brusque but at a point where I would need urgent medical attention, believe you me, I would not really care whether he had a nice smile or not.

          Anyway, even to begin comparing that to the system in Sri Lanka is a non-starter

          You DO know that two-tier medicine is alive and well that land of Milk and Honey, right ?

          To baldly state otherwise as you have done here.. is .. well, what would YOU call it ? Artistic License ??

          Canada has an effective Federal and Provincial taxation systems enabling the supply of superb (compared to SL), services, usually in the form of expensive equipment. Sri Lanka’s tax system does not even come close and YET, some level of government-funded medical care is provided across the country.

          I am unsure where to lay the blame for people FREELY CHOOSING to go the private route. Any ideas ??

          I am sorry that you were inconvenienced at the Channel Consultants but cannot believe that this was your maiden visit to such an institution either – Perhaps a visit to one of the publicly funded hospitals may have taken the sting out of paying and having to stand while the medication took effect – you may even have found a bench in the OPD that was not occupied. Unless of course, the public system is not one you would deign to visit.

          Yes, we have uncaring medical practitioners and a lax system that allows them to make all this extra dosh on the backs of Sumanasekera’s Dalits . Part of the problem is that it is a residual practice from the good old days when a doctor was next to a god. The gods have become accustomed to being treated like gods and it’s time that the Dalits shook them out of that idea. My take is that we need to cultivate a culture of litigation and lawsuits. Once a few are rattled and made bankrupt, the rest will fall into line very nicely because the dosh is at stake.

          • 0
            0

            “”I have close pal who (along with a multitude of other lost souls) recently spent 6 HOURS in the CORRIDOR of a Toronto hospital on a gurney, with not so much as an aspirin for comfort, while waiting for someone to attend to him. On the plus side, after the 911 call, he DID get there in an ambulance in 15 minutes (and a bill was subsequently presented to him for about $90.00 for that privilege). “”

            Its normal because the paramedic in the ambulance has attended to it and the patient can wait in the Accident and Emergency until the queue is cleared.. If your pal did a bit of acting then the junior doctor would have attended before 6 hours.
            But JT refugee families in the UK are the most cunning. My friend at Juan Carlos Madrid was narrating to me the incidence of 3 pregnant women having deliveries at hospital and saying we have no money just the UK national insurance card which is not valid (insurance at spain is like Scandinavian) and walked away- reason the services are better than UK.
            Now you see why local people don’t want refugees or Europeans at Spain or UK.

            “My take is that we need to cultivate a culture of litigation and lawsuits. Once a few are rattled and made bankrupt, the rest will fall into line very nicely because the dosh is at stake. “

            They have overcome that in right fashion- complaints procedure has been trimmed because guys like you and brief-less lawyers create cases of nothing so there is less money for treatment.
            It is important to be patient and not get involved with the gossip at hospital then you can be assured of the best service.
            Its important to also tell a surgeon that you know nothing about medicine but inform him your problem- he will respect you and treat you well for being honest. Its the same with any professional.- your knowledge must be your secret.

            “I am unsure where to lay the blame for people FREELY CHOOSING to go the private route. Any ideas ??””

            Waiting time for an appointment if it is not urgent in UK or Canada.
            All test are carried out with no delay.

            however at Canada or UK public service- .if the patient is serious then the best is provided immediately at Canada or UK.

            this is where the cultural differences show.
            Once you go into Canadian/UK wards even in private you find the malabari gangs, black gangs and the same old crap- how is it that this person can afford and the race neglect starts- Ambedkar was thrown off his rickshaw by Dalit not Brahmin. most of them are villagers from middle east employment who have entered Canada or are refugees. so you need a family waiting for you outside to stop these jokers from ill treating you. if you are alone you are at their mercy- 90% of cases.

            so folk fly out for medicine- you must know other languages to get the best at Europe.

          • 1
            17

            Maalumiris:
            All the bafflegab and attributions of what has NOT been said cannot conceal the fact that your choice would be the USA’s system where the beneficiaries are the HMOs and pharmaceutical industry. Why else would your “take” be “that we need to cultivate a culture of litigation and lawsuit?”
            Better to keep your mouth shut and……….!

            • 7
              0

              Dear Mr. Van Der Poorten

              I can’t afford USA treatment !! I can’t even afford a trip to the Holy Land, Benares or Lourdes to pray for divine intervention !!

              Hm….. maybe I should try Kataragama ??

              But I digress…. On this earthly plane, the most I can aspire to is a visit to the local Channel Consultant via my e-chanelling app. Though I might try the National Hospital where the wait is long and the surroundings not quite salubrious but treatment is free-ish (since I have to fork out for my own medications). But then, there is always my Private Health Insurance Policy.

              Apparently this is the same as in Canada where one pays for medications unless one is a bona-fide in-patient. Is this true ?

              Of course, I could always try to tap my circle of acquaintances for a doctor and try to get some attention that way, by way of a recommendation and perhaps a chair to take the weight off my rusty pinions whilst I wait for the Atropine to take effect

              As for the litigation piece, I really do think you SHOULD take your wounded pride and aching metatarsals along to the nearest legal-eagle and make a solid case for compensation from your doctor on the grounds of cruel and inhumane treatment.

              Or take one of those collapsible chairs with you for next time.

              .. and stop ……. moaning about it !!!

              • 2
                0

                maalumiris

                “I can’t even afford a trip to the Holy Land, Benares or Lourdes to pray for divine intervention !! Hm….. maybe I should try Kataragama ??

                Try Madu, Nainativua, Sapara Gamuwa Maha Saman Devalaya Ratnapura, Shri Bhakta Hanuman Temple in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Pada, Thiruketheeshwaram, Muneshwaram, Thondeshwaram, Koneshwaram, Naguleshwaram, Masjid Mosque of Beruwala, …. and you have a choice of 56 Mosques in Kattankudy, there are plenty of St Antony Churches throughout the island the special one is in Kochchikade, …………

                Why waste money on your travel to the USA when we have local Vedamahathmayas around the corner?

                • 2
                  0

                  Mahadena Muttha!!

                  Sha sha, Agent Dr White and Veddi Mahattaya.

        • 0
          0

          This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 2
    0

    Didn’t the Minister of health go to Singapore for treatment recently? He doesn’t seem to have much faith in his own Ministry, so unless you are rich enough to go abroad for treatment, it’s just another day in paradise for Doctors & patients. It certainly is for doctors with private practice, raking in a day his or her average patient earns in a year, not to mention the perks like duty concessionary car permits given by the Govt. in recognition for the service to the public, the people who paid for the education.

    • 3
      0

      if you have a look at the ministers who have manned health services for the last 70 years you will understand that governments have had no respect for medicine because the government employees/politicians/clergy had the option to travel to the best overseas. The side kicks became minister of health.

      Is this why stupid folk vote and scream sovereignty ? Yes

      Even at CPChina its the same old story. The old goats with their use by date expired and no reading what so ever after the graduation are reluctant to let the recently returned from American practice carry out new procedures.
      In one instance the young Chinese doctor broke the Guinness book of records but even the white west refused to accept it. he is carrying it out remotely at China thanks to professors at china space center.

      its all to do with old goats clinging onto to political positions.
      Are all old oaks really wiser than the bamboo tree? They just give shade but when the wind blows they get blown away.
      Stupid tree hugging nation.

  • 8
    1

    Dear me, what do people expect from the Sri Lankan health service, really.

    This (deaf and blind) cry-baby should thank his lucky stars that he was able to get back home before midnight.

    Other people are faring much worse. It is a pity that spoilt people always expect special treatment, may be just because their bark is a shade lighter than the rest of Sri Lankans.

    It is best that these people go (and stay) at places where there are better health services thatn in our struggling country.

    Pharisees never change, as the saying goes!

    • 1
      18

      Gray jeans:
      Another pseudonym for the same idiot on parade, it seems!

      • 3
        0

        “My loss of hearing hasn’t destroyed by ability to read receipts and the one I was given had a female first name. Not a particular problem until I realized that the number allocated to that person was thirty-nine, if I remember right.”

        You got ENT problem like most Rugby players and Boxers experience later in life. Man you better give up writing articles of this nature and try something romantic or you are killing self. Most UK doctors are into rugby at college but give up soon.

        Humans have 20KHz audibility which is low compared to Bats at 300KHz like Moths.
        Don’t you know that wind turbines in the west are slowed down during migration of Bats??

        Please don’t discuss so much about Canada the colony under the spell of USA for every move and being stunted in every way. Thanks to the French there is much research being carried out there and unfortunately you dislike the French because you have no idea of French language.

        “”“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore?”””
        We all watched that at CHOGM. Where were you, but in the Durian plantation??
        We all saw it at the last elections and Mangala play Bohemian with London diaspora.
        Please stop playing the evasive repeating record pseudo nymph like DJ,IH and many more with ulterior motive when the game is up. Stick to non-controversial.

        • 1
          1

          Take what?
          Huh?

          • 0
            0

            [Edited out]

  • 7
    4

    Emil,

    This is what is going on. These two guys were got rid for the second time. Rajitha Senaratne was looking for some pretext to sack them. President Sirisena knows exactly what’s going on, he was the health minister before. Yahapalanaya, my foot, nothing has changed!

    Prof. Senaka Bibile Commemorative Association (SBCA) today said they would take legal action against Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne for allegedly sabotaging work of the National Medicinal Regulatory Authority (NMRA), in support of multinational pharmaceutical companies.

    National Organiser of the SBCA Dr. Jayantha Bandara told a media briefing yesterday that they would file a case in court against the Health Minister for his actions, which he said had violated the terms of the National Medicines Regulatory Authority Act.

    “Two eminent medical professionals, Prof. Lal Jayakody, Head of the Department of Pharmacology at the Colombo University and Prof. Krishantha Weerasuriya, South Asian Drug Policy Advisor to the World Health Organisation, who were serving as the NMRA’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer respectively were asked to step down by the Health Minister.

    “He did so because the two medical professionals were a threat to multinational pharmaceutical companies, because they introduced new regulations to control the prices of medicine for the betterment of innocent patients,” Dr. Bandara said.

    He claimed that Professor of Clinical Pharmacology, Kelaniya University, Prof. Asitha De Silva, who is also a director of a multinational pharmaceutical company, was tipped to take office as Chairman of the NMRA, following the decision of the Health Minister.

    Dr. Bandara said there was clear evidence to prove that Prof. Asitha De Silva dealt with a particular company, where he was holding a director post, during clinical trials of the Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Kelaniya University.

    He said two more persons had been appointed to two sections of the NMRA, despite they are from fields different from the appointed sections.

    • 3
      17

      nimal fernando:

      The plot thickens as you describe it!

      Professor Seneka Bibile’s internationally renowned plan for the provision of pharmaceuticals at affordable prices to the general public has been “deep-sixed” by successive governments while the jackasses like “Sumaney” drag all kinds of red herrings across that particular trail of betrayal.
      Time to get together, my friend, and do a Peter Finch. Remember,”We’vre mad as hell and we wont’ take it anymore?

      • 16
        2

        Mr Poorten,

        So you didn’t vote for Bodhi Sira ??? Did I get it right….

        • 8
          0

          He said it was raining Durian, Kos and the joint for the hose to the spring had a leak so like on CHOM day he was busy.
          Please give him a raincoat and sky rocket made in China or send the dog unit van to stop intruders.

    • 1
      0

      This is all true worldwide where there is public health care- controlled by politicians.
      Even at Canada or UK where professors from the world congregate they become the class room professor and are not good with their hands. they behave like lawyers.

      Patients come out crying and some commit suicide after having paid the highest possible insurance so that they do not need to follow the queue.

      People like sound system Late Bose are rare. Very often the practicing GP knows better than the specialist surgeon but cannot advice before hand because of bureaucracy.

      Malinga knows Dr White better than you or I.

      Industrial Engineers play a major part in almost all surgery today.- no more running to the butchers for knives. Folk are released the same day after heart surgery. you don’t have that branch of post graduate engineering.

      • 0
        0

        I am well aware of “health professional/sector greed” and shortcomings in most countries of the world.

        This is not about any of that, but about one very simple thing – i.e. implementation of Prof. Senaka Bibile’s essential medicines concepts and provide quality drugs at affordable prices.

        So, let us steer away from the usual generalities and platitudes; that is, If you care for the welfare of the common SL man who can’t afford go to Singapore or the USA for treatment.

        This is what the National Medicine Regulatory Authority (NMRA) tried to do to provide quality drugs at affordable prices.

        Can you, without resorting to generalities or platitudes, enlighten us how the Chief Executive Officer Prof. Krishantha Weerasuriya could have done his job better? Please, please, please, give us specific solutions and stay on track.

        ” With Sri Lanka’s Health sector still in crisis, these are some shocking discoveries made by the National Medicine Regulatory Authority (NMRA) which was appointed last year to implement Prof. Senaka Bibile’s essential medicines concepts and provide quality drugs at affordable prices.

        Recently Health Minister Rajitha Senarathna called for the resignation of the NMRA’s Chairman Prof. Laal Jayakody and its Chief Executive Officer Prof. Krishantha Weerasuriya. But later Dr. Senarathna requested the two eminent personalities to come back and they did so for the sake of the people.

        According to information we have, the NMRA has saved millions of rupees through properly implemented regulatory processes during the past few months. In addition, going beyond its usual work, the NMRA has intervened to get medicines supplied from registered sources, rather than importing unregistered medicines of unknown quality

        The State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC), the supply arm of medicines for the Ministry of Health, had requested the NMRA to issue a ‘NOL to buy the drug Lorazepam. The reason given for asking the NOL was that suppliers of the registered drug had not applied for the tender. The total value of the consignment was Rs. 36 million. Prof. Krishantha Weerasuriya, who is well known for his tough, but straight actions, called registered suppliers of the drug and asked why they had not tendered. They said that they were not aware. Prof. Weerasuriya then asked them to send their quotations and they complied. The SPC re-evaluated the tender and it was awarded to a registered supplier. The cost was Rs. 250,000. This action of the CEO not only saved more than Rs. 35 million in public money, but also gave Sri Lanka’s a quality- assured drug.

        The NOL is issued when a drug which is not registered in Sri Lanka is brought to the country. If this is not issued by the NMRA, Sri Lanka Customs will not allow the drug. However, as the quality, efficacy and safety of unregistered drugs are not known, NOLs are meant to be issued only in unavoidable circumstances. This system was highly abused before the NMRA was established. There is an instance where the former Cosmetics Drugs and Devices Authority issued an NOL to import a ‘Gotukola’ extract.

        The drug Nimotuzumab, an anti-cancer drug, was given provisional registration for one year by the CDDA. With this registration, the Ministry of Health bought this drug at a cost of Rs. 150 million last year. When the application for re-registration of the drug came to the NMRA, Prof. Jayakody and Prof. Weerasuriya looked into the manufacture of this drug and found that it was still in the trial stage. Also it is still not approved for treatment of cancer. So they refused to register the drug. This saved another Rs.150 million for this year. Medical experts say that this action not only saved money, but also saved Sri Lanka’s cancer patients from being used as Guinea pigs to test these medicines.

        According to information given to the Daily Mirror, the SPC requested another nol to import 60,000 tablets of ‘Primaquin’, a drug used in treating Malaria. This was for the Medical Supplies Division of the Ministry. Knowing that Malaria has almost been eradicated in Sri Lanka, Prof. Weerasuriya called the Anti-Malaria Campaign and asked whether it needed this quantity. The answer was an emphatic “No”. The Prof. informed the SPC that the drug was not needed and the order was cancelled, saving several more lakhs.

        Sources from the SPC and the MSD say there are many more similar instances where the intervention of the two Professors of the NMRA not only saved millions of rupees but also assured the buying of registered drugs of known quality, safety and efficacy rather than buying a drug on a no objection letter. Under the guidance of the two Professors, the NMRA, SPC and MSD have formed a forum to discuss how Sri Lanka imports drugs on the basis of five factors – quality, efficacy and safety, the cost of the drug and the need for it. The aim is to avoid the waste of money and assure quality, safety and efficacy.

        Two important questions arise from these findings. Whether the attempted removal of the two Professors from the NMRA was because, they were acting with honesty and integrity while saving money. It is obvious that someone, or many, were disturbed when their commissions, amounting to millions of rupees, were denied. The second question is what action the government will take against the culprits who wasted or tried to waste public money by buying unregistered drugs using NOLs.”

        • 0
          0

          “This is not about any of that, but about one very simple thing – i.e. implementation of Prof. Senaka Bibile’s essential medicines concepts and provide quality drugs at affordable prices.”

          You will not get that anywhere in the world. Someone has to pay for the long drawn out research. They are too very powerful to be dictated for by even the american government.
          If you get a drug that is cheap it is generally counterfeit and has side effects even more than original. i never buy a drug made in China.
          The Chinese are pestering the Indians for pharma collaboration but they don’t get it for obvious reasons and its nothing political.

          now 700 indian products have been banned because they have reduced the factor of safety to almost zero . that is exactly what the chinese do when it comes to infrastructure.
          street walker there is more to walking the streets. – your 3rd world sinhala only mentality that is your problem.
          Keep yhour stupidity to konde badepu vaduro of lanka.

          I am sure you used counterfeit operating systems and programms at some stage over there.
          Well they are not for sale any more eg Adobe. in another 10 years when you can’t buy spares for your PC to use the older versions your stuff becomes junk.
          That is the the power of research over politicians cheating.

          • 0
            0

            take_that, Zorro, pistachio,

            Hey buddy, where were you hiding? I was looking for you!

            Thank you for your great insight. I am sure the forum will benefit immensely.

            Keep up the good work.

            PS Hope the floods didn’t force to evacuate your abode. Hope the other inhabitants are safe as well. More the merrier!

        • 0
          0

          “Can you, without resorting to generalities or platitudes, enlighten us how the Chief Executive Officer Prof. Krishantha Weerasuriya could have done his job better? Please, please, please, give us specific solutions and stay on track.”

          You cannot blame individuals but the very culture that graduated from transit export of drugs that were banned.
          Indian pharma was banned by Fiji but transshipment use to take place regularly from Colombo harbor.this has been going on from the late 70’s.
          Similarly Singapore transshipped many items from Malaysia.

          The only way out is to carry out own research and be accepted in the world. it will take ages but it has to be done. you might find an alternative and cheaper drug and then the money flows. That is how Cuba is making a degree of foreign exchange.

          eg Ebola has no cure because there is no money to find a vaccination.
          not that it is not urgent at present.
          People especially western doctors who got infected and subsequently discharged have been taken to hospital once again with eye or testicles issues. These are 2 places of immunity privilege.So it won’t spread from them but its there changing the color of eye from blue to green and hurting of course and the same with testies. It takes even more medication and time to eradicate that.

      • 0
        0

        take_that,

        “People like sound system Late Bose are rare.”

        Please, I do not mean to insult you, but it shows how little you know about sound reproduction and even less about Amar Bose.

        • 0
          0

          Pol haliya!
          i do know more than anyone like you and especially a street walker politician.
          Its a subject I study from graduation to PG industrial engineering.
          have you heard of drones and the concept of it??
          You sound like thuttu dekke lawyer.

          • 0
            0

            HHey Buddy,

            “have you heard of drones and the concept of it??”

            No, not through a Bose sound system. But I am beginning to see the relevance.

            So, “industrial engineering” eh? All three of you?

            As a fellow countryman, I so proud of you.

            • 0
              0

              nimal fernando yaluva,

              Well Bose started in an american garage where his pop kept (like most Americans kept) the car outside. He was not a indian in full either.
              As kids when we see earth moving equipment we think of the caterpillars.
              When the earth moving equipment cant do what the elephant or humans can do in the given conditions of the hills (tea) we look up and see bats at dusk and how they move- sound

              At least you heard him in the late 70’s when he was the 1st with reflective sound. My friends do the sound at Glastonbury and they are not English either.So you know how Spice girls sing too?

              Heven’t you been to Bombay and the island with “Trimurthi” well Pablo Picasso copied it from that- 3 in 1 and transferred it to Carl Jung to teach the world thats its 3 in 1.
              BTW like many at Europe born there I am one but not your country man nor do i have any baggage there.
              Anyway my old friend Nimal Fernando, here is something for you very seriously.
              Now that you have spoken so much could you lead a crusade and take the shame off the nation than let the rich import anything willy nilly with a undervalued dollar??
              According to CIA 90% of inwards remittances come from ME labour- these are mainly poor Sinhala women. US$1 billion per year comes from Saudi.
              Can the people of Lanka especially the women insist that a portion of the 90% exchange goes into setting up an independent drug research laboratory- biomedicine- “medicinal product”??
              Even Winthrop and church would assist you in providing some of the best to make it kick start. Then you can employ all the intelligent women to carry out the painstaking research than see them sold as sex slaves by agents who are thrilled that they are bringing FE.
              (BTW I have spent enough time with Lamas/Rinpoche’s etc and they don’t deal with medicine but mindfulness the closest to any cure. Please don’t get eggheads as women and eggheads don’t go together.)
              From what I understand homeopathy/Ayurveda are good for disciplined non-smoking teetotallers and vegetarians so there is no need for that but western medicine.
              Good luck.
              The problem with medicine is once addicted one cannot do without it. There are several cases in the west where the child has missed a vaccination meant for a short duration to prevent a genetic deficiency. Now that they have grown up with the problem that they should have evaded they do not want to have a child and with them the family tree dies.

            • 0
              0

              “”But I am beginning to see the relevance. “”

              much date is analysed in a short time via computing.
              Its called computational biology.
              we study a bit of the foundations to manufacture.
              now you understand what is stealth aircraft?

              i am on 3D printing and very soon we wont need garments manufactured in asia.
              The material is introduced in clay form (instead of prepared paper or plastic etc) the customer passes through a scanner once he/she has selected everything they like their garment to look like and in a couple of mins the product comes via the printer anywhere. so each dress is like handmade to order and no stitches but made in layers. its going to be cheaper than mass produced in asian farms.
              Even vehicles would be manufacture this way- no welding joinery etc.
              Russians are going mad.- see what freedom without war can do.

      • 1
        1

        take what?
        Huh? Huh?

        • 0
          0

          [Edited out]

  • 1
    0

    Mr EvdP

    Thank You for chronicling another of the common hurdles that WE the People have to jump to survive. HEALTH and EDUCATION. And to take your cue ‘government after government under-funding’ applies to these two important areas. In both spheres our governments trumpet the ‘FREE’ aspect but spend as minimum as they can get away with. There is always something more pressing, and for sometime now DEFENCE has been prime. Decent people have to shrug and put up with the cost of (often sub-standard) private health services, and often prohibitive tuition fees. To complain too much, and worse attach an offending political complex may require access to a decent orthopaedic surgeon. To coin a phrase ‘hell hath no fury like that of a cornered Sri Lankan politician’.

    This is the lot of the common man in our thrice-blessed fools paradise.

    Mr vdP, I wish you quick release from your current health problems.

    • 1
      0

      SK,
      “may require access to a decent orthopaedic surgeon.”

      Lanka misses the Latin and Greek so even qualified doctors need education in the English language before they leave for the west. yet they don’t shine outside the protection of government service.

      Trauma and orthopaedics is an area of surgery concerned with injuries and conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system (the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves).`the science of Bones`.

      “the science of eyes”. – Ophthalmologist.

      Whom he needed to see was- Optometrist (therefore she the Ophthalmologist does not arrive)

      Difference between an Ophthalmologist, Optometrist and Optician

      http://www.aapos.org/terms/conditions/132

      • 0
        0

        chico-chicki

        I am afraid I couldn’t quite get the gist of your comment.

        The requirement for a good orthopaedic surgeon is due to the imminent need to put back the bones that would be rearranged following a complaint against authority/political person, as so often happens in our warm blessed land.

        For your information, the latest journalist in need of orthopaedic intervention is Mr Gamage (in Negombo) who was the target of persons unknown (?) for having the temerity to report on matters close to the Prince of Fish Town. Not a good career move? Deiyo Saki??????

        • 0
          0

          Spring Koha,
          you are right.
          You used the term “orthopaedic surgeon” in conveying a structure plan not an action plan or as a medical term.
          But there is a post graduate subject called Urban planning and urban design and the leaders of that are necessarily – Architect cum Engineer qualified as Urban planner and urban designer but not the lawyer, social worker etc who also get the same qualification. Its the A_E UP&UD who constructs the structural plan.
          When it comes to the neck the ortho alone does not work because a nuero is needed and very tricky. even the ortho the shoulder differs from hand and the hip differs from foot ortho.
          The same happens other branches of medicine like nutrition where the biochem nutritionist heads but not the artist, journalist who get the same qualification at PG level or PhD.

          Can do with what you have said at the beginning.-“orthopaedic surgeon”

          However the main article was about medicine so it skipped my mind because i generally read diagonally across.

          ” Deiyo Saki?????? “
          I always thought SARC kiyanne deiyo saki! but now it seems to have taken a boat ride to Negombo- down memory lane.

          At school we were scared of the cane from master of discipline so we grew up.
          But now everyone inclusive of Lankans are awe stuck about Singapore and LKY.
          LKY knuckle duster seems to be the best though both of us do not like it but unfortunately that is the solution for the majority of Asians than become another subic bay that Lanka is in.

          Why is the west different? because they too have learnt it with the numerous wars. i have been in the midst of too many wars in the world and its sickening images of blood and gore.

          Look at that once powerful Japan that bombed Russia to bits. They just don’t want war but work hard to become an economic and technical power.

        • 0
          0

          Spring Koha:
          Pardon my intervention but how could you get the “gist” of anything people like this keep repeating when there isn’t any?

          • 3
            0

            “”anything people like this keep repeating when there isn’t any? “

            People suffering from schizophrenia are not fooled by the optical mass illusion unlike the rest of us who fall for such illusion.

  • 13
    5

    According to the loyal supporters of Mr Poorten and his column , our health System is totally fucked…Right.

    And Mr Poorten wants to do a Peter Finch..

    I am sooooo happy.

    My elders tell me the Yahapalana suckers are now lead by none other than the big ass health Minister of the previous Regime, who had the gig for 10 years, with a little break in between to hold fort as the Defence Minister, when Mr Pirahaparan was sending SOS to Milliband , Kurcher and of course Norwegian Solly from Nanthikadal…

  • 0
    0

    Health underfunded in the South?
    All because Defence is overfunded in the North: military has no ”military” work but run pre-schools(the kids Have to buy and wear costly T-shirts with CSD (Civil Security Department) printed on it, they clean Hindu temples, drive Hindus to temples in their buses, engage in ”shramadana” and clean public sites, meet dignitaries visiting Jaffna, taking school children on sightseeing tours to Palaly HSZ, ….. all these while on government payroll!!!!

  • 7
    1

    Poorten,
    You do not say what the diagnosis was.
    Your experience of eye drops + wait is typical for an eye examination.

    Your grouse is lack of seating accommodation, and confusion in registration for which you should blame the private hospital’s administrators, not the doctor concerned.

    What really, is your complaint?

    • 1
      16

      justice:
      I would strongly urge you to read material before you comment on it and ask rhetorical questions which are, at best, irrelevant. Or is simply a case of choosing not to see what’s staring you in your face?

      • 0
        0

        justice ,
        “What really, is your complaint? “

        Poorten,
        “”I had enquired from the front desk whether, in fact, the person we were all there to see would show up. The translation of what I was told was that “she usually doesn’t not come,” which was, I thought, a fairly quaint way in which to prepare us for the worst if that was to be our fate.””
        “ask rhetorical questions which are, at best, irrelevant. “

        Ophthalmologist.??

        Optometrist!!

        “Return To Sender”

        Return to sender
        Return to sender

        I gave a letter to the postman,
        He put it his sack.
        Bright in early next morning,
        He brought my letter back.

        She wrote upon it:
        Return to sender, address unknown.
        No such number, no such zone.

        We had a quarrel, a lovers’ spat
        I write I’m sorry but my letter keeps coming back.

        So then I dropped it in the mailbox
        And sent it special D.
        Bright in early next morning
        It came right back to me.

        She wrote upon it:
        Return to sender, address unknown.
        No such person, no such zone.

        This time I’m gonna take it myself
        And put it right in her hand.
        And if it comes back the very next day
        Then I’ll understand the writing on it

        Return to sender, address unknown.
        No such number, no such zone.

        Return to sender
        Return to sender
        Return to sender
        Return to sender

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z54-QHEZN6E

  • 9
    2

    Sooon Mr.Poooorten will be stranded alone in an island that is surrounded by a sea of idiots!
    When you keep calling everybody else an idiot it is like holding a mirror on your self!

    • 2
      19

      NAK
      I might be CONFRONTED by idiots on CT – writing under a variety of pseudonyms in illustration of their bravery – because they are a small part of a Sri Lankan nation which isn’t entirely chauvinistic, racist or stupid as they. I would, however, welcome being SURROUNDED by the latter!
      Incidentally, do you have ambitions of leading the “parade” that I have referred to from time to time because you certainly would be a worthy contender!

      • 15
        2

        Mr Poorten,

        54 comments and still coming. A pretty good score for a detached retina, [Edited out]

        • 0
          2

          This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

        • 0
          8

          Sumaney:
          As much as I’d be flattered by all the attention, I am given pause by the content of the crap and the fact that a multiplicity of pseudonyms cover the same snipe from the same gutter.

        • 3
          0

          KA Sumanasekera,
          Looney looney, loon is back with
          “A Fox once saw a Crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree…

          Ha Ha ha ha ha:)))))

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out]

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 6
    23

    Wow, the Sumanasekara brigade is on the
    war path against poor EVP.

    Any rational person would have no arguments
    against what’s written in the article, so
    the petty minded comments here say more
    about the sorry individuals,than anything else.

    If the likes of Sumanasekara and take_that
    don’t want to complain about the obvious and demand improvement
    where it’s required, that’s their choice.

    Sumanasekara’s proclaimed concern for those he refers to as
    dalits is in direct conflict with his undying worship
    of the man who destroyed and plundered public wealth
    like there was no tomorrow!

    • 13
      2

      “” and take_that don’t want to complain about the obvious and demand improvement where it’s required, that’s their choice.””

      Loose Change, Looks Like Sh*t,

      please you stay disconnected from sight and sense if you know whats good for you.

      his Luck Ran Out.
      twiddle dumb.

  • 3
    21

    take_that

    you can’t take_it take_that?!

    • 0
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 8
      1

      are you by chance the regenerated dalit demala known as Lankan on CT??
      I understand, Pillai is awaiting to welcome you in his parlor.
      happy convalesceing.;)

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out]

  • 15
    2

    Lankan ,

    “”Any rational person would have no arguments against what’s written in the article, so the petty minded comments here say more about the sorry individuals,than anything else.””

    Attending school of thought??

    Stupid people argue about the words of talented ones.
    Doubt and hope are sisters!

    It is not truth that can make men great, but men that make truth great.

    It seems what Lankan logician’s need is just a little humility; their salvation lies in some one curing them of their Hegelian swelled-heads.

    • 3
      13

      Take what:
      Is there some kind of special award for incoherency?

      • 0
        1

        [Edited out]

  • 11
    3

    Whom??

    over sized raincoat and flying saucer-sized glasses fool you.)))

    • 6
      1

      Mr Poorten,

      79 and still climbing ..Pretty good score considering the fact that it was just a detached retina.

      Just imagine if you write one of those kick ass essays on Yahapalanaya.

      I mean an essay on the Yahapalana dudes who rip off your Anglican, Elite UNP tax payer mates..

      You can start with that Ammata Digital Harin Son, who wants a LKR 90 Million worth set of 4 wheels.. Or is it 6 Wheel all terrain to travel to Estates in Badulla to check on our Indians there.

      Then you can write another one on Yahapalana Rajitha who told the media that he needs a 4WD because he has to travel in rough terrain as well.

      May be one on his Son too ,who was adopted by your new mate Batalanda Ranil.

      He may also need one to canvass for Kiriella, especially if they travel to Thumpane.

      Don’t forget that meeharaka cum nattan something who got a LKR 70 Million one, but paid only half for it because the car dealer loved him so much.

      Just imagine the array of topics you can pick….

      And the amount of comments you will get from the Yahapalana suckers alone.

      UNP Dr Wije will be more than happy to provide material to help you..

  • 0
    0

    Mr. Nimal fernanado & Mr.Emil van der Poorten

    Senaka Bibile Commemoration Committee has been appointed to advise
    the Minister and the Authority on matters pertaining to proper implementation of the National Medicines Policy of Sri Lanka. So, They have to advise the minister before filing a case in court against the Health Minister for his actions……………!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Excerpts of NMRA Act No. 5 of 2015. Read carefully…………..

    (1) NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE AND
    DIVISIONS OF THE AUTHORITY
    PART I
    ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL ADVISORY
    COMMITTEE AND DIVISIONS
    30. (1) There shall be established a National Advisory
    Committee, the main function of which shall be to advise
    the Minister and the Authority on matters pertaining to
    proper implementation of the National Medicines Policy of
    Sri Lanka. NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
    31. (1) The National Advisory Committee shall consist
    of the following members appointed by the Minister –

    (x) a representative of the Senaka Bibile
    Commemoration Committee

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