Sri Lankan Students Campaign for Rational Medicine: The Story of SIRHA. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 016 (1993)
(1993; 1 page)

Abstract

Chairman Sanjiva Ranwella of the Students Involved in Rational Health Activities (SIRHA) presents an overview of the mission and activities of SIRHA in the group’s first year. SIRHA was founded in July 1992 when a group of Sri Lankan medical students observed the International Organisation of Consumer Unions Asia-Pacific Workshop on Pharmaceuticals for Health Ministry Officials in Colombo in June of that year. The students wanted an active role in raising awareness and acting on health care issues. As a result, SIRHA was founded to give Sri Lankan medical students the opportunity to question the current state of health care in Sri Lanka, increase awareness for rational health care, and find solutions to challenges faced by the system. During its first year of work, SIRHA has sponsored and participated in several events. For example, SIRHA members participated in an International Advertisers Association panel discussion on controlling drug advertisements. The group also hosted a seminar on providing low cost rational drugs to Sri Lankans and carried out a “pharmaceutical guerrilla attack” on inappropriate information in leaflets available at the annual Sri Lankan Medical Association meeting. SIRHA was also responsible for a widely publicized complaint to the People’s Tribunal on the pricing, promotion, and availability of pharmaceuticals in Sri Lanka. They have worked with organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Health Action International (HAI), and the Medical Lobby for Appropriate Marketing (MaLAM). Joint projects include the formation of a mini library for SIRHA with publications from WHO and HAI, and MaLAM appointing SIRHA as its associate in Sri Lanka. SIRHA plans to continue promoting people-oriented health care and hopes to publish a newsletter in the near future. (Abstract by Flannery Bowman, 2013)

 
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