Sri Lanka Red Cross Society’s ‘Elixir’, a source of strength to the health sector of Sri Lanka

Posted on Thursday, May 18th, 2023

(By Meleeza Rathnayake, Assistant Manager, Reporting and Communications of SLRCS)


The economic downturn in Sri Lanka in 2022 caused unrest among the country’s civilians, causing chaos on the island and thrusting the country’s name into the global spotlight. During these trying times in the country, the need for medicines and medical equipment was widely discussed. The health sector was in a major crisis, and the public was suffering as a result of a severe shortage of medicines. 

Aiming to support the public in overcoming the situation, Sri Lanka’s largest humanitarian organisation, Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) along with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) stepped in with relief in response to the situation. SLRCS has been in the forefront of humanitarian aid for almost a century and during this downturn the organisation took over the responsibility to be with the people, with utter dedication. 

As an initiative in finding a solution to the shortage of medicines, Sri Lanka’s first ever medical donation matching platform, ‘Elixir’ was launched by the SLRCS in October 2022, along with the Ministry of Health and many other generous donors.

‘Elixir’ has received a positive response from the general public and the country’s corporate leaders in a relatively short period of time. It is an honour to announce that the SLRCS’s ‘Elixir’ was given the opportunity to donate a critical medication to Sri Lanka’s Kandy National Hospital. 

In December 2022, twenty-four bottles of Sevoflurane were given to Dr. Eresha Fernando of the Kandy National Hospital in order to support Sri Lanka’s health system. The donation was valued at more than USD 6,000. 

“We are grateful to the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society for donating Sevoflurane to our hospital; with their assistance, we were able to treat patients in all operating rooms for more than three months. Because of the ongoing crisis, operations were temporarily halted, causing issues with our service to our patients.”, said the Ward Master of the National Hospital in Kandy, Sri Ranganayake Bandara.

 The initiative is a volunteer-led, public-private partnership run by the SLRCS that allows hospitals and treatment centres throughout Sri Lanka to register their needs for lifesaving medicines and medical supplies that may be in short supply due to the country’s ongoing economic and currency crises. ‘Elixir’ also provides a streamlined interface for donors who want to support Sri Lanka right now. The platform can then match requirements and donations for efficient use of funds and time, while also reducing total turnaround time for assistance and increasing transparency, by having all requirements and donations come in via a unified and seamless platform. 

“SLRCS’s contribution made things easier and allowed almost all of the hospital’s operating rooms to continue. The donated medication is a critical medication that must be available in hospitals. The donation totaled two million rupees, and we used it to treat over 100 patients. We are extremely grateful for the assistance provided,” added Bandara.

‘Elixir’ is a national donation matching platform run by the Sri Lanka Red Cross in collaboration with a network of volunteers and professionals to improve the effectiveness of donations. In collaboration with the Sri Lanka Medical Supplies Division, we have put together aid packages that collect the needs of multiple hospitals in order to obtain bulk price discounts from suppliers. Our volunteers assist with price negotiations as well as invoicing, shipping, and logistics. Elixir promotes transparency and accountability throughout the supply chain. For more information, visit: