Medi-snippets: Drug Free Western Province soon | Sunday Observer

Medi-snippets: Drug Free Western Province soon

A pilot project was launched last week within the Northern range of the Western Province to mobilise all law enforcement agencies in a fully fledged crackdown on narcotics .

Launched with three dedicated hotlines functioning under the purview of the Deputy Inspector General of Police Office in the Western Province Northern range, the project aims at decreasing narcotic usage by 40% within the next three months.

Explaining the reason prompting the crackdown in this division, DIG Tennakoon has reportedly said, around 76% of crimes committed in the Western Province were drug related offences. Through intensification of the crackdown he expressed hope to bring down narcotic usage by 40% and subsequently crimes by 20% within the next three years.

Commenting on the hotlines set up, he reportedly noted that ordinary citizens were fearful of passing on information to the Police relating to drugs . By drug reporting hotlines, he noted, the aim was to ensure credibility and confidentiality.

The toll free hotline has been initiated by Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel to serve two million residents in 1,177 Grama Niladhari divisions in the Gampaha District.

DIG Tennakoon added that selective Police officers will work directly under the purview of the DIG’s office in supporting the project.

The three hotlines are : 0713690001 (Negombo) , 0713210001 ( Gampaha), and 0713580001 ( Kelaniya).

Meanwhile, it has been reported that plans are afoot to send nearly 500 drug addicts starting at grassroots level, for rehabilitation. Informed sources have said, they would be meeting Magistrates next week on how to streamline this process and ensure that they are sent to these centres as soon as possible.

As part of the first phase of the project the progress will be monitored by the University of Kelaniya, and, depending on its success rate, implemented in the greater Western Province and thereafter islandwide, the Sunday Observer learns.

Police officers trained in child abuse online

Several Police officers of the Bureau for the Prevention of Abuse of Children and Women underwent a three day training programme recently in Negombo. The participating officers were selected from 42 police divisions from the Child Sexual Exploitation Division of INTERPOL on Sexual Exploitation of Children Online, by the PEACE organisation. As Sri Lanka’s arm of ECPAT , an international network committed to protect all forms of child abuse and promote their rights, the training served as the base to provide participants the necessary tools .

Trainers from INTERPOL at the programme inaugurated by the Inspector General of Police and the Acting Ambassador to the Netherlands, focused on specific methods of identification of victims and investigation of techniques that could be used for crimes on the internet, using various websites, applications and servers. Trainers noted that as the internet connect people globally, and downloads material within minutes , sharing such material would cause trauma and ruin a child’s life.

Price of 25 more essential drugs cut

The prices of 25 more essential medicines including neurological and diabetes drugs and life saving intravenous antibiotics, as well as ten anti – cancer drugs have been slashed. A Gazette notification announcing the price reduction including ten cancer drugs will be issued within the next two weeks, Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr Rajitha Seneratne reportedly said while addressing a council meeting of the Non Communicable Disease Unit of the Health Ministry, last week. The Minister has gone on record as having said that 95% of cancer drugs re purchased by the Government and the private sector sells about 5 %. As cancer drugs were very expensive, he said, people did not have the money to purchase them. He pointed out that the price of one cancer drug which was Rs 280,000 when the Yahapalana Government came into power, has now been reduced to Rs 144,000. He promised that likewise, the price of another ten cancer drugs will also be reduced within a fortnight. He also noted that by removing the Rs 1.5 million upper limit for cancer treatment, a patient can now receive treatment worth Rs 45 million plus, thus increasing the lifespan of cancer patients.

Private hospital fees to be regulated

Charges of 46 services at private hospitals will be regulated soon, Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne has said. Speaking at the Kalutara District meeting of the All Island Private Pharmacy Owners’ Association recently, he has reportedly said, the limit of funds that the state spends on cancer patients was lifted and that the Government now spends around Rs 450 million on a cancer patient

Lepers’ Segregation Ordinance amendment approved

The Cabinet has approved amendments to the Lepers’ Ordinance 1901 to facilitate patients to engage in their social relationships. Segregation of leprosy patients was made compulsory in 1901, but due to new treatments it was suspended since 1983. However, according to Health Ministry sources, there are 31 leprosy patients in the Hendala and Manthivu Leprosy Hospitals still, who were segregated under the 1901 Ordinance . They are now cured and need to have the chance to socialise with the outside world, a spokesman for the Hendela Hospital said.

No radioactive waste allowed

No radioactive waste will enter Sri Lanka through the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka has said in response to concerns that certain provisions of the FTA with Singapore would enable the dumping of radioactive waste in Sri Lanka.

Noting that the Atomic Energy Authority was under his purview for about ten years he reportedly told the media, at an event in Kandy last week, a special appliance from the US with the latest advanced technology to carry out any radiation test within the country had been fixed at the Port . He urged the public not to panic over fear mongering rumours to the contrary.

Lawyers seek compensation for glyphosate deaths

Prof.Channa Jayasumana of the Rajarata University has reportedly said, discussions are underway to file a case in the Supreme Court seeking compensation of Rs 100 million for each victim of cancer and kidney disease caused by the Glyphosate agri chemical. The Professor has been quoted as saying that legal action was being taken on behalf of four parties- who included farming communities, researchers , patients and families of persons who died from these diseases.

First liver transplant

The first liver transplant at the Kandy Hospital was successfully performed a fortnight ago, when the liver of a brain dead 37 year old man was transplanted in a 64 year old male. Sources said, the surgery cost Rs 1.6 million compared to Rs 10 million if done in a foreign country. The first heart transplant surgery was also done at the same hospital last year. A pancreas transplant and lung transplant are also on the cards soon at this hospital.

Kerala cannabis in northern seas

Navy personnel found 39 parcels of 85.5 kg Kerala Cannabis on the seas north of Kankesanthurai, last week. It is suspected the consignment was dumped into the sea to be transferred ashore later.

The detection is one of the largest in recent times and is said to have a street value of over ten million rupees. Drug enforcement sources said illegal smuggling of banned substances continue with impunity and called for stricter vigilance as most victims were young people, 15 – 25 years whose health could be damaged for life.