01 April 2020
UNICEF Sri Lanka/ Earl Jayasuriya
Essential COVID-19 medical supplies for 14 isolation hospitals, funded by the Asian Development Bank and procured by UNICEF are handed over to Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services for immediate use. Left to Right: Dr Samantha, Senior Registrar to DDG Medical Services, Dr Lal Panapitiya, DDG Medical Services, Mr S. A.J. Karunathilake, DDG Biomedical Engineering Services, Dr Sunil de Alwis, Additional Secretary, Medical Services, Mr Tim Sutton, Representative, UNICEF Sri Lanka, Dr Safina Abdulloeva, CSD Program Manager, UNICEF Sri Lanka, Dr D. Dhammica S. Rowel, Health and Nutrition Officer, UNICEF Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (1 April 2020) — A $100,000 (LKR 18.17 million) grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has funded the purchase of emergency medical supplies through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in support of Sri Lanka’s ongoing response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

The medical supplies and materials purchased include 4 suction machines, 4 suction apparatus, 10 infusion pumps, 12 syringe pumps, 7 multipara monitors, 11 laryngoscopes, and 1 point of care analyzer. These supplies will equip COVID-19 isolation units in 14 hospitals across the country and were procured in direct response to the needs of the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services.

The ADB grant is sourced from its Regional Support to Address the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 and Potential Outbreaks of Other Communicable Diseases technical assistance approved on 26 February 2020.

This critical medical equipment was handed over to Additional Secretary for Medical Services Sunil de Alwis by UNICEF Sri Lanka Representative Tim Sutton on 28 March at the Ministry of Health in Colombo, and was the result of a rapid and efficient procurement process.

“This pandemic has begun to affect every sphere of life in Sri Lanka and ADB is pleased to assist in a timely manner and help the government in its fight against this disastrous virus,” said ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Chen Chen. “Our partnership with UNICEF is essential for swiftly delivering this batch of medical equipment.”

Mr. Sutton said: “We thank ADB for their important grant assistance and fast response to the evolving COVID-19 situation facing Sri Lanka. UNICEF has already used this funding, and our expertise to purchase important medical equipment, which will further strengthen Sri Lanka’s capacity to save lives. We applaud the actions already taken by the government, and we encourage all parts of society to continue to come together and play their part. With concerted, coordinated, and consistent action, together we can beat COVID-19, and protect the most vulnerable in society, including children and young people.”

UNICEF is working closely with the Government of Sri Lanka to curb the spread of COVID-19 in a number of ways, including by providing technical expertise, procuring important medical supplies, and developing effective public health messaging and campaigns to reach all Sri Lankans with important information. UNICEF will continue to work closely with the government, partners, and other UN agencies to deliver against the needs of the country during and after the outbreak. 

On 18 March, ADB announced an initial package of approximately $6.5 billion to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries, including Sri Lanka, as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. ADB stands ready to provide further financial assistance and policy advice down the road whenever the situation warrants. Visit ADB’s website to learn more about our ongoing response.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region. 

Media contacts

Jeremy Sprigge
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 77 723 6548
Suzanne Wooster-Prematilaka
Communication Officer
UNICEF Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 77 316 5378

About UNICEF Sri Lanka

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF Sri Lanka, visit