Japanese lifeline for Suwa Seriya: Tender for 25 new ambulances

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The Health Ministry has floated a tender for 25 ambulances for the 1990 Suwa Seriya service to be financed through a grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction.

The tender is open to suppliers from countries which are members of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the notice says. The bid deadline is June 20 this year. The Japanese grant is being channelled through Sri Lanka’s Health System Enhancement Project and ADB procedures will govern the bidding process.

Among the required criteria is a requirement that suppliers should have completed a similar contract within the past five years. The ambulances must be delivered within three months.

Suwa Seriya was launched in 2016 through an Indian grant and currently has 297 ambulances. They carry hundreds of people to hospitals free of charge. But in recent times, like most other sectors that need public funds to survive, Suwa Seriya has faced financial issues. Its management said funds had been insufficient since 2020 and that it had been a struggle to maintain the service.

Last month, Suwa Seriya launched a Rs 1bn funding appeal to maintain its ambulances. Donors were invited to pledge Rs. 5mn per ambulance for one year. The initiative, called “Adopt an Ambulance” attracted contributions from more than 100 companies. Their sponsorships will go towards vehicle maintenance, healthcare equipment and staff requirements.


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