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1.2 mn. Jeevanee sachets procured from substandard SPC manufacturing unit

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Trade Unions allege that the Health Ministry and the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) has obtained 1.2 million sachets of  ‘Jeevanee’ produced at the ORS manufacturing unit of the SPC that lacks the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification.

‘Jeevanee’ is a locally produced Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) which is used as an oral treatment for dehydration.

In a letter dated on Dec. 29, 2023, the additional secretary of the Health Ministry – Dr. Sunil de Alwis has requested the National Drug Regulatory Authority (NMRA) to issue a Waiver of Registration (WOR) in this regard.

However, the NMRA Chairman – Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama has said a WOR isn’t necessary as this product isn’t imported to the country.

Noting that during a meeting chaired by the Health Minister on Dec. 21, 2023, it was discussed that the product had been used in hospitals for during the past several years, the NMRA chairman had added that therefore, they had no objection for the product to be distributed by the Medical Supplies Division to state hospitals.

Accordingly, 1.2 million Jeevanee sachets, valued at Rs. 60 million, had been procured.

When questioned over the procurement, the NMRA Chairman has stated that while the said factory did lack the GMP certification, ‘Jeevanee’ was also not registered as a drug.

In Oct. 2015, NMRA officials had carried out an inspection of the said ORS manufacturing unit and in Jan. 2016, the NMRA had urged the SPC to correct the shortcomings mentioned in the inspection report and inform the NMRA of its progress.

Accordingly, the unit had informed the NMRA that measures are being taken to secure the GMP certification.

Meanwhile, President of the Academy of Health Professionals (AHP) – Ravi Kumudesh has remained skeptical of the move to procure the ‘Jeevanee’ stock.

Noting that the questionable Human Immunoglobulin, which has become a major issue these days, had also been produced at a factory in Seeduwa that lacked GMP certification, Mr. Kumudesh says that it was unusual to seek a WOR for locally manufactured products.

He also said that procuring products from such manufacturing units, also showed that drugs in the country are not regulated.

Noting that officials deviating from quality processes also raises questions on accountability.

Noting that the NMRA has not clarified the matter in a way that regulated the procurement process, the AHP President points out that the procured ‘Jeevanee’ has already been prescribed to patients while NMRA has not informed to shut down the manufacturing process either until the GMP certification is secured.

(Source : Aruna)

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Election Commission invites tenders for election stationery

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The Election Commission has announced a call for tenders to procure essential stationery, including indelible ink, for the upcoming election. 

The required items include photocopy and printing paper, printed and data-printed envelopes, pens, pencils, carbon paper, staplers and stapler pins, calculators, and other necessary supplies for the election process. 

Tenders will be opened on August 2nd under the national competitive bidding process.

Meanwhile, Deputy Postmaster General Rajitha Ranasinghe stated that preparations for the Presidential Election are ongoing despite a staff shortage. 

He confirmed that 8000 mail delivery staff will be deployed for relevant tasks. 

However, the Election Commission and relevant authorities have been informed about the staffing issue.

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Sri Lanka announces squad for home series against India

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Sports Minister Harin Fernando has approved the 16-member squad for Sri Lanka’s upcoming home series against India, with Charith Asalanka named as the Captain.

The squad includes notable players such as Kusal Janith Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, and Chamindu Wickremesinghe.

India’s tour of Sri Lanka will feature a three-match T20I series followed by a three-match ODI series.

**Sri Lanka’s 16-member squad:**

1. Charith Asalanka – Captain
2. Pathum Nissanka
3. Kusal Janith Perera
4. Kamindu Mendis
5. Dasun Shanaka
6. Wanindu Hasaranga
7. Mahesh Theekshana
8. Matheesha Pathirana
9. Nuwan Thushara
10. Dunith Wellalage
11. Dushmantha Chameera
12. Binura Fernando
13. Dinesh Chandimal
14. Avishka Fernando
15. Chamindu Wickremesinghe

ODI Series at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
– August 2
– August 4
– August 7

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Hospital to be established at Somawathiya Raja Maha Viharaya

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The Health Ministry has announced plans to construct a peripheral hospital within the Somawathiya Raja Maha Viharaya premises to serve the large number of devotees and nearby communities.

A special discussion on this initiative was recently held at the temple, led by the Chief Incumbent, Ven. Pahamune Sri Sumangala Thera. 

The Chief Incumbent highlighted the temple’s significant daily visitor count of around 1,000 devotees, which swells to over 50,000 on Poya days and exceeds 100,000 during Poson and Esala Poya days. 

Currently, devotees who fall ill are transported to Polonnaruwa Hospital, a process that will be significantly eased with the new hospital.

Under the Health Ministry’s directives, two ambulances from Polonnaruwa General Hospital have been stationed at the temple to assist sick devotees. 

The new hospital will provide much-needed relief to the local villages of Sungawila, Katuwanwala, Galkanda, and Kandakadu.

Health Secretary Dr. Palitha Mahipala outlined the facilities of the new hospital, which will include an outpatient department, an emergency treatment unit, male and female wards, and residential quarters for doctors and health staff. 

This hospital will function as an affiliate of Polonnaruwa General Hospital, with staff being deployed from the main hospital.

A special Cabinet paper for the hospital’s construction is set to be presented, with an allocation of Rs.100 million for the project this year.

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