A lucrative medical business is being practised all over the island. This is the Medical-Lab and X-ray lab business.
Unlike in the past, medical lab tests are now done by automatic machines. These machines are imported from Singapore by a few Colombo businessmen. The businessmen invest between two and three million rupees in these machines and employ young women to feed the machines with blood and urine samples.
No one knows anything about the quality of the tests. The automatic machines must be in perfect order to give accurate blood test readings.The businessmen import the machines, regardless of quality. They are not concerned about what they get from the foreign supplier. For all we know, they may be receiving discarded machines.
The medical lab owners are not doctors or professionally qualified people. They are mudalalis. They buy the services of qualified lab technologists. The lab technologists do not handle the machinery. They are employed to provide legal cover.
There are other dangers when laymen run medical labs.
There is cutthroat competition to attract patients for blood tests. If doctors in the area do not send in requests for blood tests, they become the enemies of the lab owners. Dr. Jayasinghe of Karandeniya was murdered for openly obstructing unauthorised medical lab businesses.
The health authorities seem not to be aware of the dangers. I hope the President will take heed of this letter and save us from dubious medicos.
Dr. L.S. De Silva, Retired M.O.H., Mt. Lavinia