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Haycarb's Antidote to save suicide victims

The 'humble' coconut shell, converted to activated carbon by the Hayleys Group subsidiary, Haycarb in a process of value addition typical to the Blue chip conglomerate, is saving hundreds of lives in hospitals across Sri Lanka, following donations by the company of over 15,000 bottles of the wonder product to the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

Bottles containing 50 grams each of medical grade-activated carbon in powder form, will be distributed to state hospitals where they will be administered to people who attempt to take their own lives by swallowing Yellow Oleander (Kaneru) seeds or pesticides.

The carbon powder mixed with water to form a suspension is administered orally to the victim of attempted suicide, and adsorbs the poison in his or her stomach, working as an effective and inexpensive antidote with a high success rate.

"Activated carbon has saved many thousands of lives in Sri Lanka over the years and its efficacy has been confirmed by a study done by Sri Lankan and British specialists over six months and published in the authoritative medical journal "The Lancet," Haycarb Director Rohan Peris said. "This is just one of many possible applications for activated carbon, which is widely used in water and air purification all over the world."

As an antidote for poisoning by Kaneru and certain types of pesticides, activated carbon replaces the antidote used in hospitals overseas, a single treatment of which costs Rs. 265,000. Most local hospitals resort to flush out the poison by induced vomiting because they cannot afford the imported antidote. The success rate of this method is comparatively low as opposed to the use of activated carbon which is much easier to administer.

The Chilaw Hospital alone, one of the biggest recipients of donations of activated carbon has saved 451 victims between April 2005 and March 2006, achieving a success rate of 95 per cent in a clear demonstration of the value of activated carbon, Peris said.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service

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