IFRC in process of procuring essential medicines for Sri Lanka


Amidst one of the worst phases Sri Lanka has seen in terms of its economic stability, Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) has closely monitored the situation, providing a 6-month operation update report.

The operation is scheduled to last for a period of one year, from 07 June 2022, till 06 June 2023, assisting a total of 500,000 persons.

It is to be noted, however, that to date, this Emergency Appeal, which seeks CHF 28,000,000, is 17% funded including soft pledges with a gap of CHF 23.5 M.

Further funding contributions are needed to enable the SLRCS, with the support of the International  Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), to help mitigate the current food insecurity brought about by the economic crisis and help people affected by the civil unrest in the country through integrated food security, nutrition, livelihoods, health, and education interventions targeting 500,000 people.

Accordingly, a six-month update report was published on 27 December, with data obtained from 07 June to 30 November.

SLRCS teams have been providing first aid and ambulance support to people affected by the civil unrest whether civilian or security personnel treating more than 22,600 since April including 1,000 transported to hospitals, the report revealed.

Branches participated in First Aid training, medical camps and emergency First Aid activities, while teams also provided dry food, relief items, and cash support to people hit by the economic crisis and food insecurity.

As of 30 November 2022, SLRCS has been able to carry out the following activities to support the needs of the affected population, with the support of IFRC and its membership:

  • Cash and Voucher assistance – 4,000 MPC grants disbursed to beneficiaries and another 14,800 grants are in the pipeline and currently being processed at SLRCS HQ and Branches
  • Health – Around 21,600 people provided with health assistance and over 1,000 people transported to hospitals. Two high-performance tents procured and being used. A consignment worth CHF 100,000 essential medicines and medical consumables handed over to the Ministry of Health, 625 volunteers trained on PFA in all 25 branches
  • Education – 5,000 school kits (stationery, school bags) procured, and distributed.  Another 12,700 are in the pipeline and currently being processed at SLRCS HQ and Branches
  • WASH – Around 8,000-10,000 people receive drinking water every day at long queues in 10 districts. 180,000 packs (10 sanitary pads per pack) planned for distribution to 20,000 female adolescent students.

In addition to the above, the following food and non-food items were also distributed to affected populations before December 2022: 

Food and Non-Food ItemsQuantity# of people planned to be assisted by December 2022Geographical coverage
Sanitary Napkins180,000 packs (10 pads per pack)20,000 female adolescent studentsAll 25 districts
Dry Rations4,500 packs (family size)For 18,000 elderly people living in elderly homes (each pack shared among 4 elderly)All 25 districts
Nutrition food packs15,000 packsFor 15,000 pregnant and lactating mothersAll 25 districts
T-Shirt with SLRCS, IFRC & Donor Logo650 T-shirtsDistribution to all branchesAll 25 branches
First Aid Kit (SLRCS Standard)2,500 kitsDistribution to all branchesAll 25 branches

As medicine and medical supplies have become one of the utmost requirements of the country, the IFRC is in the process of procuring essential medicines that will be donated to the Ministry of Health for further distribution to people in need, in close collaboration with SLRCS, the report stated.

Despite the current challenges in the country, particularly due to the shortage of fuel, SLRCS has managed to implement activities planned as a part of the operation.

In the framework of this response, CHF 1.4 million has been spent out of the CHF 4.7 million (total funded amount including soft pledges).

In terms of bilateral assistance received , the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China provided 2,100 packs of dry rations to Colombo and Gampaha, and 7,100 such packs to Kandy, Matale and Nuwara Eliya, while 1,000 packs were provided by the Singapore Red Cross Society (SRCS).

Further, the SRCS also provided a stock of medicines to Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health.

In addition to the above completed bilateral assistance, SLRCS assured that there is ongoing support as follows;

  • The disbursement of 6,000 Multi-Purpose Cash grants in 12 districts, and the distribution of 5,600 nutritional food packs for pregnant and lactating mothers in 14 districts, by the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • The distribution of 7,225 food packs within Colombo, by Uber
  • The provision of logistics, staff and volunteer time for the distribution of 6,200 nutritional food packs for families with Severe Acute Malnourished children in Nuwara Eliya, overlooked by the Sri Lanka Paediatricians Association
  • The ‘Feed the Child’ programme, in partnership with the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF)

SLRCS maintains 25 branches in all districts of the country, with over 100 staff members and 6,000 active volunteers currently engaged in the response.

At the national, district, and divisional levels, there are National Disaster Response Teams (NDRT), Branch Disaster Response Teams (BDRT), Divisional Disaster Response Teams (DDRT), and a pool of trained Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) personnel.



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