By Sandun A. Jayasekera
Commenting on the difficulties faced by patients to purchase medicinal drugs from state-owned ‘Osusala’ outlets and private pharmacies, Chairman of the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC), Dr. Prasanna Gunasena said only one third of employees of Osusala are on duty due to the prevailing situation in the country.
However to ease the congestion, the SPC would introduce an online app shortly for patients who could directly approach any of the 48 Osusala outlets in the country.
However, Dr. Gunasena lamented that Google, which has been tasked with the creation of the app has requested ten days for the job.
“There are about 3,500 private pharmacies and 48 Osusala outlets in the country. Only Osusala have been allowed to open during curfew hours. In order to maintain uninterrupted service once the curfew is lifted, we call only one thirds of the work force of Osusala to work on shift basis. Therefore, the congestion at Osusala outlets is understandable. However, if the Health Ministry could obtain the services of the Sri Lanka Army to distribute drugs from private pharmacies or permit patients to obtain drugs prescribed by private hospitals and doctors from government hospitals, that would be a great relief for patients,” Dr. Gunasena stressed.
He added that patients were used to send their prescriptions on whatsapp to personal mobile phones of Osusala employees.
“Normally, they receive about 200 requests per day through whatsapp, but these days they get about 2,000 requests per day which they cannot cope with. The sudden rush of demands and the limited number of staff have aggravated the situation,” he noted.
However, Dr. Gunasena expressed confidence that the situation would improve after the online app on behalf of the Osusala was launched shortly and added each Osusala outlet will be given a tab to receive prescriptions from patients. '