WHO to help Sri Lanka  manufacture anti-venom drugs

by Dasun Edirisinghe

The World Health Organisation (WHO) would help Sri Lanka establish anti–venom manufacturing facilities, as some foreign products available in the country were not effective, a top official said yesterday.

WHO Country Representative Dr. F. R. Metha said that some patients had succumbed to the bites of venomous snakes in spite of being given imported anti-venom.

It proved that the anti–venom drugs currently available did not work as regards certain snake species endemic to Sri Lanka, he said.

Dr. Metha was addressing a media seminar, organised by the Toxicology and National Poisons Information Centre (TNPIC) of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, to create public awareness of the National Poison Prevention Week, which begins next Monday.

He said that he had travelled all over the country and most cases of snake bites were reported from the Northern Province. especially in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts.

Dr. Metha said that his organisation was happy about Sri Lanka’s tackling of poisons, but pesticide was still a problem despite health authorities having launched several awareness programmes.

"The WHO continues to support anti-poison activities in Sri Lanka on an annual basis," he said.

Senior Research Officer of the Pesticide Registrar’s Office, Dr. Sumith Jayakody, said that from time to time several pesticides had been banned in Sri Lanka.

Dr. Jayakody said that they had taken a decision last week to reuse the packages of pesticides including bottles, plastic containers etc. only to minimise them being transferred for normal use.

Head of the TNPIC Dr. Waruna Gunathilake said that the National Poison Prevention Week would be held from Oct. 28 to No. 03.

He said that they would introduce an Electronic Waste Management System at the NHSL with the support of the Central Environmental Authority as the main event of the week.


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