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Top Ayurveda physician in UK welcomes SL’s move to use native medicine to treat Covid-19 patients

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by Sujeeva Nivunhella in London

Well-known Ayurveda physician, Shantha Godagama, who founded the Ayurvedic Medical Association and College of Ayurveda in the UK over 30 years ago, welcomed Sri Lanka’s decision to introduce Ayurveda products to General Hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients.

“As a founder patron of the British Ayurvedic Medical Council and a member of the herbal medicine advisory committee in the UK, I am happy over this move, which could bring recognition to Sri Lanka”, he noted.

“After long and exhaustive collective negotiations by herbal practitioners 15 years ago, the European Union made a landmark ruling that any herbal preparation, which had successfully treated medical conditions for over 15 years in Europe and 30 years outside Europe, provides sufficient evidence of the efficacy of the drugs”, he recalled.

Godagama said the British Government set up the first-ever herbal medicines advisory committee of the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority in the UK following the EU ruling.

“As a result, we have now licenced around 500 Ayurveda products, which are available in pharmacies in the UK, either on self- prescribing or practitioner prescribing”, he said.

Practitioner prescribing means these herbal products can be prescribed by western or ayurvedic doctors”, he elaborated.

“It is time for Sri Lankan doctors practicing western medicine to learn about prescribing the drugs from the UK. I believe there won’t be an issue with the medical council when it comes to cooperation and collaboration with herbal practitioners as we work together in harmony”, Godagama asserted.

“With the patient’s permission, we often send a written report on prescribed herbs to western doctors. In the event, a doctor or a herbal practitioner notices any unexpected side effects, we inform the authorities through the government yellow card scheme. I must say after completion of MBBS degrees, there are many students who enroll themselves to study ayurveda”, he continued.

“If the aim is to treat and cure patients, we must also study other systems of healing. There is a well-known saying here that if a doctor has no pen and paper, then he’s useless”, Godagama added.



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Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving

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Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

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GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

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SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest

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By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

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