Analysis
How to donate to #medicalcrisisLK
Apr 21, 2022
This is how you can donate to help settle the medicine shortage in Sri Lanka.

How to donate to #medicalcrisisLK

Thanks for wanting to donate. First, here’s the problem.

1) Sri Lankan hospitals need both medicines and equipment. Large amounts of them. For everything from rabies to heart surgery.

2) The majority of these medicines are not produced in Sri Lanka. Therefore, they have to be purchased or donated from other countries.

3) Sri Lanka is in the middle of an economic crisis. As of the time of writing, Sri Lankan foreign reserves have dropped below $50 million. We’ve also defaulted on our debt, making it difficult to open lines of credit or borrow money. This has paralysed the state’s ability to procure medicines.

Finance Minister Ali Sabry notes that it will take at least six months to get into an IMF program. Our best estimates are that we will, at least, need six months of medical supplies to keep our healthcare system intact.

Elixir is a central, public database of these needs. Broadly, we have two types of requests:

Hospitals 🏥

✓ Requested by medical staff at a specific hospital

✓ Relatively smaller and easier to fulfil.

✓ Lower volumes, faster processes and simpler logistics - fewer delays in getting medicine to those in need

✗ Usually short-term needs only

✗ Requester may or may not have a full picture of the hospital’s needs (check designation).

✗ Not individually verified by Watchdog. Verification is handled by vetted organizations using our platform.

National 🇱🇰

✓ Requested by official bodies within the government of Sri Lanka

✓ Relatively larger and more difficult to fulfil.

✗ Higher volumes, slower processes and more complex logistics - more delays in getting medicine to those in need.

✓ Short-term and long-term needs

✓ Requester has a comprehensive picture of overall system need.

✓ Individually verified by Watchdog.

Fortunately, there are ways we can help. Click the drop-down lists below to explore options.

Donate money or medicines directly to the Ministry of Health.

1) Email moh.covid.coordinator@gmail.com with a request to donate.

Yes, the email is a gmail, and yes, we know it doesn’t look too government at all, but we’ve checked with them and verified it.

On the other end is Dr. Anver Hamdani, the Co-ordinator In-Charge for Covid-19 and Health Care donor activities, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka.

Make sure you’re in a position to make a substantial donation; for example, clearing a whole line item off their lists is good.

2) Go to elixir.watchdog.team to see national requests.

3) Purchase medicines on your end or contact the importers listed and pay for medicines to be donated as a consignment. When requests are entered, Elixir scans NMRA's approved importers list to find all available local importers for said drug.

It will look for the closest match to name, type and dosage - for example, it will read 'Vecuronium Bromide Inj. 10mgvial' and, if 10mg vials are not available in the NMRA list, it will point you to a supplier that can get you Vecuronium bromide in 4mg/2ml vials. This allows you to figure out who the local importers for medicines are.

https://notioncharts.io/embed/charts/9d75c1f4-bcd4-453a-93c5-2218311572fb

The consignee address is: Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Health, 385, Ven. Baddegama Wimalawansa Thero Mawatha, Colombo 10.

4) Next, email the details of the consignment to moh.covid.coordinator@gmail.com.

Looking at procedures from National Medicines Regulatory Authority clearing requirements, we suggest, at a minimum, including the following:

  • A letter indicating the Name of the Product, Quantity and Manufacturer (if possible) and the supplier you’re sending it through.
  • Proforma or commercial invoice - include the invoice number and nominal value in your letter.
  • Scanned image of outer pack/ label of the product, including name of the products, quantities.

Note that if you’re shipping medicines overseas, you’ll need to have familiarity with procurement and the necessary licenses and clearing expertise, as medicines are a highly regulated affair. Do not send anything unless you’re sure you can get it cleared; talk to Dr. Hamdani first.

Donate medicines directly to hospitals.

1**)** Go to elixir.watchdog.team to see requests by hospital.

2**) Purchase medicines on your end or contact the importers listed and pay for medicines to be donated as a consignment**. When requests are entered, Elixir scans NMRA's approved importers list to find all available local importers for said drug.

It will look for the closest match to name, type and dosage - for example, it will read 'Vecuronium Bromide Inj. 10mgvial' and, if 10mg vials are not available in the NMRA list, it will point you to a supplier that can get you Vecuronium bromide in 4mg/2ml vials. This allows you to figure out who the local importers for medicines are.

https://notioncharts.io/embed/charts/9d75c1f4-bcd4-453a-93c5-2218311572fb

The consignee address is the address of the hospital that you’re donating to.

3**) Next, email the details of the consignment to** moh.covid.coordinator@gmail.com.

Looking at procedures from National Medicines Regulatory Authority clearing requirements, we suggest, at a minimum, including the following:

  • A letter indicating the Name of the Product, Quantity and Manufacturer (if possible) and the supplier you’re sending it through.
  • Proforma or commercial invoice - include the invoice number and nominal value in your letter.
  • Scanned image of outer pack/ label of the product, including name of the products, quantities.

This is to make sure that the government knows that you made a donation directly to a hospital; that way they have more data on how needs change.

Donate money to independent organizations.

  • Sarvodaya (Sri Lanka) are directly procuring and supplying to hospitals. We’ve reached out to them and verified their operation procedures with people directly working on medical resupply. They run 25 district centres around the country and a 501(3)c nonprofit in the USA that can receive funds for the cause.

    For donations in LKR, you can: a) use a wire transfer to send money to Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC Account number: 2590026974 Bank / Branch Address: Moratuwa b) Use registered post (or visit in person) to send a cheque to Sarvodaya Headquarters, #98, Rawatawatta Road, Moratuwa , Sri Lanka.

    For donations in USD/other currencies, you can:

    a) use a wire transfer to send money to Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, Account number: 1590008015 Currency : USD Bank Address: No.766, Galle Road, Idama, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. Swift Code: CCEYLKLXXXX

    b) use PayPal to donate at https://sarvodayausa.org/donations/donate/. The money goes to Sarvodaya USA, from where Sarvodaya can use them.

    c) send a cheque to Sarvodaya USA, 1127 University Ave, Madison, WI 53715 USA.

    In all donations to Sarvodaya, please mention ‘SRI LANKA MEDICAL CRISIS’ so they can maintain track of what comes in.

  • The Ceylon College of Physicians (Sri Lanka) have a fund open. They plan to procure via the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation. To donate, use wire transfer to send money to: Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC Account number: 5000234950 Bank / Branch Address: Reid Avenue Bank code: 7056 Branch code 116 Swift Code : CCEYLKLXXXX

  • Madu Selvakumar’s (UK) fundraiser on GoFundMe donates money directly to the Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians, the Perinatal Society of Sri Lanka, and the College Of Anaesthesiologists And Intensivists.

  • The Tata Memorial Center (India) is raising funds via tmc.gov.in. To donate, go to their website and donate under the “Patient care” category; then send an email with the reference to fundraising@tmc.gov.in, with cc to ncg@tmc.gov.in, mentioning that the donation is for Sri Lanka welfare.

Note that independent organizations are just that - independent. Watchdog cannot guarantee or force transparency, nor inspect operations at a minute scale and make assurances to you. We’ve established that these are legitimate organizations, but our checks are only worth so much. Use these as you will.

Make a pledge of medicines on Elixir so that local organizations can call you and arrange delivery.

If you’re in a position to acquire medicines, but need help sorting out the rest, you can make a pledge.

To pledge, go the ‘My Pledge’ tab on Elixir. Fill in your details, list what you can provide, and your pledge will be recorded. You can also navigate to any Elixir request list and add items directly to your pledge.

Pledges will be sent out to Sarvodaya and the Ministry of Health, both of whom have agreed to be on the receiving end for this data. Please note that Watchdog will not handle these logistics; we rely on them to get in touch when a pledge is made and help sort out whatever can be done.

Using Watchdog for transparency and accountability.

One of the key requests from donor groups is to ensure transparency and accountability in funding. This is, understandably, a huge problem, given recent and past fundraisers that turned out to be very problematic.

Unfortunately, Watchdog is not in control of the government nor the organizations listed here. We can help in a limited way: when making a donation, fill in this Google form. We ask for details and proof. If required, we can then analyse this data and make it public so that people have an idea of how much money went where.

It’s important to note that Watchdog is not receiving donations, nor handling logistics. We’re a small team and our mission is to get good information out to society. This is our way of connecting the dots between the medical system, the general public, and anyone who can help right now.