On Monday, the Honorable Dr. Lalith Priyalal Chandradasa, Consul General of Sri Lanka, visited Direct Relief’s Santa Barbara headquarters to discuss the ongoing emergency response in the region and opportunities for future partnership in the South Asian country.
Dr. Chandradasa toured the organization’s 155,000-square-foot warehouse, accompanied by several others, including Aruni Boteju, who coordinated the visit. Dr. Chandradasa spoke with Direct Relief CEO and President Thomas Tighe and other staff about the necessity of access to Covid-19 vaccines, as well as ongoing medical support.
Direct Relief has a long history of emergency response to Sri Lanka, including the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
During that response, the organization supported over 70 organizations working locally to help deliver health services to people impacted by the tsunami.
Since the pandemic began, Direct Relief has supported 52 healthcare providers in 6 South Asia countries, including Sri Lanka, with $9 million in cash funding and $398 million in medical aid, including PPE, medication, oxygen concentrators, and ventilators.
Since 2011, Direct Relief has provided more than $3.1 million in medical aid to healthcare organizations in Rajagiriya, Colombo and Nikaweratiya, Sri Lanka.
Recent shipments to assist with the country’s Covid-19 response included oxygen concentrators and PPE. The organization has also supplied diabetes therapies and supplies through the Life for a Child program, which connects children with Type 1 diabetes with charitable insulin and diabetes management and testing supplies.
Direct Relief has provided more than $2.6 million in diabetes therapies to the Diabetes Association of Sri Lanka and is working to bolster healthcare providers on an ongoing basis, with a specific focus on non-communicable diseases.