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GMOF blames it all on Pavitra

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Minister asked to clarify Dr. Godahewa’s claim of deliberate delay in Sinopharm use

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Government Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) President Dr. Rukshan Bellana says Health Minister Pavitradevi Wanniarachchi should accept the blame for the poor management of the health sector during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic crisis.

 Dr. Bellana, in a brief interview with The Island, yesterday (26) discussed how the mismanagement on the part of the Health Minister contributed to the rapid deterioration of the situation. “The whole operation is in chaos,” Dr. Bellana said, urging the government to take remedial measures immediately or face the consequences.

 Asked whether it was fair to hold one person responsible for whatever the shortcomings or failures when the government’s effort was being handled at different levels, including President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Army Commander General Shavendra Silva and DGHS (Director General Health Services) Dr Asela Gunawardena, Dr. Bellana emphasized the role and responsibilities of the Health Minister couldn’t be compared with that of political and military leaders.

 Referring to a statement issued by the Health Ministry on May 21, Dr. Bellana said that Minister Wanniarachchi had accused the social media of carrying out an organized campaign against the ongoing inoculation drive. Dr. Bellana questioned the Minister’s strategy in warning the social media for what she called lies and propaganda whereas the inoculation campaign was under heavy fire from many quarters.

 Dr. Bellana asked who would take the responsibility for not managing the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine? Of 1,264,000 doses (500,000 donated by New Delhi, 500,000 bought also from the same source-Serum Institute, Pune, and the rest through Covax initiative), received in three stocks up to March 7, 925,000 were used in the first round. “Now, the government is struggling to procure over 600,000 Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines at any cost. This is a joke,” Dr. Bellana said, urging the cabinet of ministers to review the Health Ministry response to the threat.

 Dr. Bellana alleged that Minister Wanniarachchi felt comfortable in dealing with the GMOA. How come the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) and Association of Medical Specialists weren’t given sufficient opportunity to take up issues or included in discussions opened for the GMOA.

 Dr. Bellana said that Minister Wanniarachchi should pave the way for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to name a new Health Minister by stepping down on her own. Recalling the then MP and Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) leader Udaya Gammanpila’s declaration that all ministers should be properly graded and sacked forthwith in case they failed to meet their responsibilities, Dr. Bellana said Minister Wanniarachchi should be dealt with.

 The Health Ministry said that an investigation was underway into ongoing slandering campaign undertaken by the social media. The Ministry emphasized that there is no basis for accusations that whatever the type of Covid-19 vaccines could be procured for money through Ministry officials and those close to the Minister.

 Dr. Bellana said that the Executive Committee of the GMOF after having discussed the continuing deterioration of the Covid-19 battle decided to seek President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s intervention. The GMOF alleged that (1) Minister Wanniarachchi instead of giving leadership to the health staff divided them, (2) Minister Wanniarachchi being a cat’s paw of one union (GMOF was referring to the GMOA), (3) fails to work with relevant sectors, (4) Fails to unite senior officials of the Ministry, (5) Promotes myths instead of following proper procedures (6) Paves the way for corruption in the battle against Covid-19, (7) Appoints the retired instead of those suitable serving the health service, (8) Politically victimises workers, (9) Turns a blind eye to doctors promoting lies on television and (10) turns the inoculation drive to a joke.

 Dr. Bellana said that the Health Minister should set the record straight. If the Minister believed she couldn’t perform as expected due to interference, then she should expose them.

 Dr. Bellana pointed out that State Minister Dr. Nalaka Godahewa recently acknowledged that the situation deteriorated due to nearly six weeks delay in using 600,000 Sinopharm doses in the government’s hands since March 30. Dr, Godahewa said that deaths could have been prevented if the Chinese vaccine was used in time. What would the Health Minister say to the State Minister’s statement? Was the delay deliberate as speculated by Dr Godahewa, Dr Bellana asked.

 In a letter addressed to President Rajapaksa, the GMOF, having compared those who held the Health portfolio over the past 20 years or so with the incumbent, asserted that Minister Wanniarachchi is the worst.



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Future of Sri Lanka will be determined by the economic policies implemented over the next five years – President

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized that the future of Sri Lanka will be determined by the economic policies implemented over the next five years.

The President delivered this statement while addressing the youth and business community in Mannar during his participation in the “Youth Conference” held on  Sunday (16).

The President initially attended the Mannar District “Youth Conference” held at the Conference Hall in Mannar Town Hall. The conference, themed “Journey for a Bright Future,” included an award ceremony where the President presented certificates and cash prizes to students who excelled in the 2023/2024 G.C.E Advanced Level Examination.

President Wickremesinghe interacted directly with the youth, addressing their questions and providing positive responses.  He explained that over the past four years, job creation was hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis and he assured the audience that the upcoming economic program would create new job opportunities for those previously unable to secure employment.

The President emphasized that it is up to the youth to decide whether they wish to advance their own future and contribute to the country through the government’s program.

[PMD]

 

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President assures that persons on pilgrimage to Madhu will not be hindered

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Addressing the Mannar District Development Committee meeting held at the Mannar District Secretariat on Sunday (16), President Ranil Wickremesinghe said  that it is unfair to arrest and fine pilgrims on their way to sacred sites like Madhu Church and Sri Pada.and assured that pilgrims visiting  Madhu Church will be provided with all necessary facilities to engage in their pilgrimage activities without any hindrance.

He instructed that if pilgrims are arrested in the future, the President’s Office should be informed immediately.

During the meeting, the President directed the Sri Lanka Army to clean and develop both sides of the existing Madhu Road for the convenience of the pilgrims visiting Madhu Church. He also said that a representative of the Bishop of Mannar, the Department of Forest Conservation, the Road Development Authority and the Sri Lanka Police should coordinate to ensure that these tasks are completed before the upcoming annual festival of the church of Our Lady of Madhu.

The DDC meeting, which focused on the future development plans for the Mannar district was attended by Political representatives and government officials.

 

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Abandon selfishness and embrace a life of sacrifice and harmony to achieve spiritual and worldly success – President

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his Hajj message emphasizes that to achieve spiritual and worldly success, individuals must abandon selfishness and embrace a life of sacrifice and harmony. It is with this noble aim in mind that Muslims celebrate the Hajj festival each year.

On this occasion, Muslims from around the globe gather at a single place of worship, united in purpose, to pray for communal values that embody the hope of humanity. The Hajj celebration fosters feelings of equality and brotherhood among all people, delivering a profound message for world peace.

I extend my heartfelt wishes to the entire Muslim community in Sri Lanka and around the world for a meaningful Hajj celebration, where everyone comes together to fulfill the aspirations of humanity.

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