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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Sri Lanka: PCR testing procedure has been inactivated while tender for procuring testing equipment on hold – Ravi Kumudesh writes to Gota

Image: People in Puttalam, North West Sri Lanka organise a mock protest calling for vaccinations ( Photo @Welikumbura)
In a letter to President Rajapaksa, Ravi Kumudesh, President, College of Medical Laboratory Science, Sri Lanka has requested him to investigate number of issues that negatively  affect  controlling the raging pandemic.

Ravi Kumudesh

The issues he has  requested the President to look into:

1. Reason for the tender on hold for 20 essential instruments including 14 units of rapid POCT RT PCR tender
2. Rational of Recommending an Instrument which does not have NMRA Registration
3. Reason for Lack of commitment of Government to facilitate Foreign Employee Heroes (RATA WIRUWO) Free for Rapid PCR
The letter in full with relevant documents:
Hon.Gotabaya Rajapaksha
His Excellency the President
*Request to Investigate the Reasons for the Tender on Hold for Instruments related to Covid19 Published by MOH, the rational of recommending a Technology which does not have NMRA Registration for Rapid PCR and Lack of Government Responsibility towards Foreign Employee Heroes RATA WIRUWO.
Whilst highly contagious Delta variant is identified in many areas in the country, yet the strategy of control the covid19 virus, the responsibility of the Ministry of Health is not transparent. Planned PCR testing procedure has been totally inactivated, in the same time, PCR testing program which was in progress also not happening in its optimum level, by paving ways to the 4th wave of Covid19 in the country.
We urge the authorities to explain the reasons for the following questions.
1. Reason for the tender on hold for 20 essential instruments including 14 units of rapid POCT RT PCR tender
Deviating from the normal tender procedure, during the first week of June 2021,
Ministry of Health called for tenders for more than 20 essential instruments including 14 units of rapid POCT RT PCR (ventilators, by pack, high flow oxygen concentrators, oxygen cylinders and regulators, oxygen therapy instruments, point of care PCR instruments and reagents), on the basis of giving priority to companies that can provide short-term on urgent need. It is highly suspicious the reason behind delaying the final decision for this tender, even though the bidding period was short as 3 – 5 days.
Hence, We emphasize that it is the responsibility of the government to investigate whether some of the authorities in Ministry of Health is procrastinating until the friendly parties get the opportunity, by giving enough time to register new instruments, without giving due consideration to the tenders that were finalized in the first week of June. Such authorities should be inquired and punished before the innocence public get punished by the 4th of wave of covid19.
Even during the 1st wave of Covid19, funds approved by the World Bank were not utilized properly as some authorities were dazed by the mere farce that the virus was conquered in Sri Lanka which paved 2nd & 3rd waves of Covid19. Whilst the Honourable President has allocated budget for 30 units of rapid POCT RT PCR, not proceeding ahead on time with the initial 14 units tender to improve the infrastructure required is an utmost ignorant act by the health authorities who is trying to put the country into chaos.
2. Rational of Recommending an Instrument which does not have NMRA Registration
In the same time, with regard to the recommendation issued by MOH to the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka for an equipment which does not have NMRA registration for rapid RT PCR system is highly questionable.
Hence the rationale behind recommending only one product which does not have NMRA approval should be explained by the recommended authority since there are many other products available in the world for rapid PCR.
3. Reason for Lack of commitment of Government to facilitate Foreign Employee Heroes (RATA WIRUWO) Free for Rapid PCR
Currently, the country already has 16 units of Rapid PCR machines successfully running at island wide government institutions, the president has already allocated budget for 30 more units of rapid PCR of which the 14 units of initial order is on hold. The act of authorising private sector laboratories for rapid PCR tests by only recommending the instruments by the Ministry of Health could not be accepted by considering the current facilities available with the government.
Hence we request the government to facilitate the Foreign Employee Heroes with free RAPID PCR testing facility at the government institutes.
However, it is unfortunate to see some deceitful acts of the authorities in the guise of controlling covid19. Hence we kindly request your honoured intervention to carry out necessary investigations to find out the parties who are trying to sabotage the country’s health system and embarrass the government.
Yours Sincerely,
Ravi Kumudesh
President
College of Medical Laboratory Science, Sri Lanka
0773077717

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