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Ceylon Med J. 2011 Sep;56(3):101-7.

A national survey of availability of key essential medicines for children in Sri Lanka.

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Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.



To investigate the availability of key essential medicines for children in Sri Lanka.


This national survey assessed the availability of 25 key essential medicines for children using the WHO/Health Action International medicine price methodology. Data were collected from a representative sample of 40 public hospitals (Outpatients Department pharmacies), 40 private and 8 'Rajya Osusala' (ROS) pharmacies. The hospitals and pharmacies were selected from 8 provinces using a multistage clustered approach to represent different levels of public hospitals. Descriptive statistics were used for analysis.


The mean per cent availability of the basket of survey medicines was 52% in pubic hospitals when compared to 80% in private, and 88% in ROS pharmacies. teaching/general hospitals had better availability (mean per cent availability 62%) than district hospitals (54%), peripheral units (49%) and central dispensaries (45%). Availability of anti-infectives, anti-asthma medicines and oral liquid preparations of carbamazepine, iron, paracetamol, domperidone and ibuprofen was found to be less in public hospitals than private and ROS pharmacies. Availability in public hospitals similar to that of private and ROS pharmacies was only for paracetamol tablet, oral rehydration salt, vitamin C and chlorphenamine syrup.


Key essential medicines for children were less available in public hospitals than in private and ROS pharmacies. This deprives children from access to effective and safe medicines more in the public hospitals than in the private sector or ROS.

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