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eDITORIAL-Conflict of interest in battling kidney disease

5 September 2014 07:09 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


ajor but seldom spotlighted issues relating to professional ethics, integrity and conflict of interest came up on Thursday. The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) and the head of a presidential task force made serious allegations linked to the kidney disease raging in the North Central Province and elsewhere.

Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya, President of the GMOA which comprises about 15,000 doctors and is regarded as one of the most powerful trade unions in Asia, alleged that the Pesticides Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC) under the purview of the Agriculture Ministry had authorised the import of dangerous agrochemicals.
Addressing a news conference he said it would be difficult if not impossible to curb the fast-spreading chronic kidney disease unless officials of the PTAC acted impartially and banned toxic chemical fertilisers, weedicides and pesticides which were widely known to be polluting the ground water in the area.  As a result, more than 20,000 farmers are reported to have been afflicted by the disease which requires long, painful dialysis and eventually leads to death. The NCP, once the rice bowl of Sri Lanka or the heartland of our agriculture, has been turned into a barren deadly wasteland due to the kidney disease and the ongoing drought which has thrown up to 2 million people into the mud pits of despair, destitution and degradation.

Dr. Padeniya told a news conference the GMOA had information that some officials of the PTAC which is headed by the Registrar of Pesticides, were being looked after by transnational corporations (TNCs). His charge comes amid widespread exposures that TNCs were playing a frontline role in the economic neocolonialism launched by the West in subtle ways to plunder the wealth and resources of Third World Countries. This is known to be happening in the health sector, the food, nutrition and agriculture sectors among others.

According to the GMOA president, transnational agrochemical corporations are required to submit samples of their products together with necessary information to the PTAC for registration, recommendations and import licences. He said it has been scientifically proved that many agrochemicals contaminated water sources and the people who used this water for drinking contracted the killer kidney disease.

Dr. Channa Jayasumana, Director of the presidential task force for the prevention of kidney disease made an even more serious charge. He alleged that multimillion dollar profit making TNCs were giving contracts to retired professionals to write articles in newspapers or conduct television and radio programmes in favour of the TNCs. He said the government should act fast and effectively to investigate the technical evaluation process of the PTAC.

The TNCs would obviously deny such charges. But it is widely known in Sri Lanka and other Third World Countries how modern-day traitors sell or betray the country because most of them are loyal not to the country but to the deity of money or mammon. Indian philosopher Arundathi Roy has pointed out that the modern world has five major religions – Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism with the fifth being the religion or deity of money which millions of people worship, knowingly or unknowingly.

As a first step toward curbing this sophisticated plunder and genocide, the government needs to introduce a new law requiring professionals to declare not only their assets but also any conflict of interest. The independent media also need to act cautiously to ensure they are not being used or abused by TNC hired professionals as a fifth column to continue the economic rape of the Third World. 

  Comments - 1

  • Dickie Bird Saturday, 06 September 2014 04:59 PM

    From the grapevine.... according to a chemical engineer, the well water & drill well water are more contaminated than the surface level water.
    He too is baffaled as there mixture of chemicals in water tested & the question remains how deep well water is contaminated?

    All these doctors are talking nonsense instead of putting their heads together to discover the actual cause.

    These dumb heads that argue without any real substance or even not idetifying the source must be taken to a Kovil and their heads dashed like they do to coconuts.

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