AMS reminds Health Minister crippling effect fuel crisis on their mobility – The

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By Rathindra Kuruwita
The Health Ministry has still not taken any practical and viable measures to ease the crippling effects of the current fuel crisis, affecting medical specialists and other healthcare workers, President of the Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) Dr. LakKumar Fernando has reminded Health Minister, Keheliya Rambukwella.
In his letter to the Health Minister, Dr. Fernando said that reaching the workplace has become a near impossible task for all the medical specialists, and other healthcare workers, due to the worsening fuel crisis.
The lack of fuel not only affects routine work, but also makes it impossible for most health workers to return to hospitals, after working hours, in case of emergencies encountered in healthcare delivery.
“If health staff can’t make it to their workplace on time, this can have life and death consequences. When there is a medical emergency, one can’t go by bus or train,” he said.
Since there are no visible solutions to the fuel crisis in the near future, AMS will be compelled to advise our members to “work from home.” However, this will put many innocent lives in danger on certain occasions, which is sadly due to reasons way beyond the control of health staff.
“If the government and health authorities actually consider that maintaining health services is as equally important to the general public, like the services of the security forces and some other sectors, which are entitled to uninterrupted fuel supply, bypassing long queues, we urge you to make similar arrangements for medical specialists and other healthcare workers as early as possible,” Dr. Fernando said.
The AMS President added that they wanted to put on record that they had urged the authorities to find a solution to this problem faced by healthcare workers. They are compelled to advise members to demand for transport, to be arranged by the institution, to attend emergencies, as most health workers have no access to fuel, he said.

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Ex Maldivian Prez Nasheed disputes Dr. Harsha’s claim
‘Direction Sri Lanka’ reiterates call for Prez’s resignation

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By Shamindra Ferdinando
COPE Chairman Prof. Charitha Herath yesterday (14) said that he would have to consult members of his all-party committee as regards ex-Chairman of CEB M.C. Ferdinando’s retraction of a statement he made before the outfit on June 10.
The SLPP National List MP said so when The Island asked him whether Ferdinando could do so.
Ferdinando resigned after having claimed in writing to Prof. Herath that the statement he attributed to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was never made by the President. This was after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa denied giving such a directive to Ferdinando.
The Parliament released the video footage of a smiling Ferdinando claiming he was told by the President on Nov 24 last year to go ahead with the Adani Green Energy project here as he was under pressure of Indian PM Modi.
Asked to explain, Prof. Herath said that Ferdinando had retracted only that part of his statement therefore there was no issue at all regarding views expressed by him. The academic said that there had never been an instance where a person contradicted a statement made by him/her before the committee.
COPE comprises 22 members representing both the government and the Opposition.
Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo in late Oct last year.
In a letter dated Nov 25, 2021 written by Ferdinando to the then Secretary to the Treasury S.R. Attygalle, the then CEB Chairman stated that both President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa directed him to go ahead with 500 MW wind and solar renewable energy project in Mannar and Pooneryn.
COPE summoned CEB the day after the Parliament approved Sri Lanka Electricity (Amendment) Bill with 120 lawmakers voting for the Bill after a division was called by Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella. Thirty six lawmakers voted against.
Referring to a progress review meeting on the energy sector chaired by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had on Nov 16, 2021 at the Presidential Secretariat, Ferdinando told Attygalle he assumed the project Government-to-Government venture as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached agreement on it.
Ferdinando has copied the letter to several persons, including Minister Namal Rajapaksa.
Ferdinando has been earlier embroiled in Yugadanavi controversy after he acknowledged that the signing of the agreement with US based New Fortress Energy happened at midnight on Sept 17 last year.
The government brought Ferdinando from retirement in Australia to be Chairman CEB in July 2021 to facilitate the Yugadanavi deal that paved the way for the US firm to secure 40 percent of shares in the power plant held by the Treasury. Ferdinando succeeded Eng. Vijitha Herath, while Basil Rajapaksa received the finance portfolio in time for the Yugadanavi agreement.

More than 80 percent of Lankan families are eating less, or cheap food, owing to the prevailing crisis, says a report published by the World Food Programme on Lanka.
The report said more than 80 percent of Lankan families are eating cheap or limited food, and this has raised the risk of malnutrition.
“Based on a joint WFP and Department of National Planning rapid assessment, more than 80 per- cent of households are eating less preferred, cheaper food and/or limiting portion sizes, due to the rising prices, and reduced purchasing power. Households are consuming less diversified and nutritious diets, which fuels the risk of higher rates of malnutrition,” the report says.
It says reduced paddy harvests, from two consecutive seasons, will increase food insecurity.
The study points out that the price of imported rice has risen by 20 percent, due to the currency depreciation, and the cost of local rice varieties have increased by six percent due to the supply shortage and high cost of production.
This report, released on June 08, contains an analysis of food prices and commodity prices, in Sri Lanka, in April 2022,
including price trends, inflation and key issues, within the current economic context.
It says: Continuation of escalating fuel prices and fuel shortages is anticipated with an impact across sectors, including food systems.
Poor performance of the ongoing Yala paddy cultivation is expected, impacted by fuel shortages and limited availability to fertilisers and pesticides. Reduced paddy yield, from two consecutive seasons, will likely drive an increase in household food insecurity.
Despite reaching record highs in April, there is likelihood of increasing inflation in the coming month as fuel prices continue to rise.
Overall inflation in April increased to 33.8%, up from 21.5% in March.
Food inflation accelerated to 45.1% in April year-on-year, up by +10.5% from March. This was driven by increased prices of rice, dhal, sugar and milk powder. Non-food inflation increased to 23.9% from 14.5% in March.
The Global Food Price Index demonstrates a small downward trend. April’s decline in the FFPI was driven by a considerable decline in the vegetable oil sub-index and a modest decline in the cereal price sub-index.
The price of imported rice has risen by 20% due to the currency depreciation. Cost of local rice varieties have increased by 6% due to the supply shortage and high cost of production.
The price of red lentils rose to a record high, +10% compared to last month and up by +170% from the same time last year.
The report has been prepared by the Research, Assessment and Monitoring unit of the World Food Programme, Sri Lanka. The analysis is based on data from various information source, including the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute, Department of Census and Statistics, and FAO.
Former President of the Maldives and current Speaker, Mohamed Nasheed has rejected a claim made by Samagi Jana Balavegaya lawmaker Dr Harsha de Silva.
Issuing a clarification on the matter, Nasheed said, “I believe a number of countries are willing to help Sri Lanka and the assistance will come through.”
Nasheed was responding to MP Harsha de Silva’s claim that the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud has rejected a request made by the former Maldives President to provide assistance to Sri Lanka.
The former UNPer said he met Nasheed, who told him that the Sri Lankan government has requested him to approach foreign leaders to help find US dollars to ride out the economic crisis.
As per the request, the former Maldives President had approached the Saudi Arabian crown prince who told him that Sri Lanka does not have a proper plan in place, MP Harsha de Silva had said further.
He also stated that M. Nasheed had approached the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, who asked for a list of properties that Sri Lanka is prepared to sell.

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