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Right of reply

WITH reference to the report headlined 'Doctors want Governor to Probe Tender Board decision' in the Daily News of January 5, North Central Province Provincial Director of Health Services Dr. W. Atapattu said some contents were misleading and he felt the need of making a statement on the procurement of dialysis machines by the Department of Health Services, North Central Province.

Dr. Atapattu said: "The Department of Health Services NCP, tendered for the procurement of four units of dialysis machines and one unit of water treatment plant in July 2005.

Three suppliers bidded on the tender and the price difference between the lowest and highest was Rs. 660,000 on one machine.

For the water treatment plant all three bidders offered same branded machines with the same model, the highest and lowest price difference was Rs. 400,000 for the same model.

Machines quoted by all three suppliers had fulfilled the requirements of the specification which was produced with the consultation of the Division of Biomedical Engineering Services, Colombo.

Out of the three machines quoted, expect the lowest one, the other two machines contained additional features which were not included in the specifications and those features were not mandatory to the treatment purpose due by the said machines.

The Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) appointed on this tender comprised Director of the General Hospital Anuradhapura, an Accountant and the Biomedical Engineer NCP.

The recommendation made by the end-users of the said machines being physicians were reflected through the Director of the General Hospital Anuradhapura to the TEC.

The TEC recommended the machine quoted the highest price, considering the availability of similar machines in the government hospitals of this country, additional features available and the after sales services delivered in the past by the supplier.

The Tender Board which was chaired by the Chief Secretary NCP, an Accountant, Secretary of Health NCP and Provincial Director of Health NCP spotted the difference of the cost between the lowest and highest while all three types of machines were fulfilling the requirements of the specifications.

As result, an audit was carried out to probe the repercussions encountered on the similar machines supplied in year 2002 (the lowest bidded type of the present tender) to the General Hospital Anuradhapura.

Audit revealed the fact that the lowest bidded type of machines supplied to the General Hospital Anuradhapura were functioning smoothly over three years since 2002 and became out of order since early January 2005.

It was also revealed that the machines were serviced and repaired by the relevant company for the requests made from the General Hospital Anuradhapura but the service agreement has not been signed for these machines.

Therefore, the Tender Board decided to go for the lowest offer considering, the Audit report, compliance to the requested specifications and the financial saving of nearly Rs. 3 million to the government.

It was also revealed that the recommended machines are still manufactured by the principal manufacturer in Sweden and they have specified that the year of manufacture for this model is 2001.

Staff at the Dialysis Unit of the General Hospital Anuradhapura was trained in India for the relevant brand of the dialysis machine and the supplier intends to train the staff at the Dialysis Unit in General Hospital Polonnaruwa too."

Our correspondent says:

The Provincial Director of Health Services in the North Central Province Dr. W. Atapattu has sent a clarification on our report 'Doctors Want Governor to probe Tender Board decision' claiming that some contents of the report could mislead the public but Dr. Atapattu has not pointed out what he thought could mislead the public.

The report was based on a letter submitted by the consultant Doctors to Governor Dr. Jagath Balasuriya. However 'the right to reply 'we carry the Provincial Health Director's clarification'.


Right of reply:

Is patriotism the last refuge of a pseudo patriot?

THE Daily News, of January 19 carried a rejoinder to my article, Patriotism the last refuge of a pseudo patriot with the above headline, by a Kehlliya Hullugalle.

He should first get his facts straight before he starts making allegations. He says that Rupesinghe brought out hoards of people onto the streets against President J.R. Jayewardene's Peace Accord with India. He surely is mistaken since I was out at the country during this time.

I am sure he is referring to the 'hoards of people' the JVP and other so called "patriotic" forces brought into the streets against the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. To set the record straight, I for one did welcome the Indo - Sri Lanka Accord as providing a framework for the resolution of the conflict.

I had also been appalled by the manner in which the Indian Government was treated by the Premadasa Government and the insult that India received still remains a traumatic experience for both sides.

I have no comments to make on the rest of his ideas and he is entitled to his opinion. I would however caution him to get his facts straight before he embarks on such diatribes.

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