|Hon. Minister invites Commonwealth countries to a meeting in Climate Change and Health in Sri Lanka|
|Monday, 19 May 2008|
Sri Lankan delegation headed by Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition attended Commonwealth Health Ministers’ meeting held in Geneva on 18th may 2008. The Hon Minister of Health of the Western Province, Mr. Prasanna Ranatunga, Dr. Palitha Abeykoon and Dr. Nihal Jayathileka, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Healthcare, were the other members of the delegation.
This meeting had been organized by the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Mr. Kamlesh Sharma and Health Ministers representing nearly fifty Commonwealth countries attended this annual forum. The main theme of discussion in this meeting was the place of E-health in health systems development and health care delivery.Hon. Minister, Nimal Siripala de Silva highlighted the initiatives taken by the Government of Sri Lanka on E health, to improve the quality and equity of health care. Sri Lankan Government has embarked upon an innovative pilot programme in tele-radiology and tele-pathology to seek a solution to the brain drain of their qualified specialized doctors in certain fields, such as radiology and pathology.
He stressed the need for providing continuing education for doctors, nurses and other health personals through E-Health programmes. He further stressed that the development of health information systems and management information systems in hospitals are vital to sustainable development of health systems. In developing countries expanding E Health service has been affected due lack of bandwidth infrastructure around the country, especially in the rural areas where it could be most useful. In Sri Lanka, the government is currently addressing the limitation through the development of the Telecommunication Infrastructure which will be accessible to the health sector.
He also urged the Secretariat of the Commonwealth and other International Agencies to establish a mechanism to share technical, E-health related materials and programs, and information among the Commonwealth countries undertaking E-health services. Minister also highlighted the fact that the computer hardware and software required for E-Health are often beyond the resource capacities of the developing countries. It is high time for international agencies to develop an efficient mechanism, as in the case of HIV and Malaria medicines, to make E-Health software and hardware affordable to the developing countries. Commonwealth Health Ministers meeting this year decided that Climate Change and Health will be theme for their meeting in 2009.
Hon. Minster informed the delegates that Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Commonwealth Foundation and Commonwealth Secretariat, has already planned to organize an International Pan Commonwealth Conference on Climatic Change and Health in Sri Lanka in early May 2009. He further informed the delegates that this conference will be a catalyst to sensitize the Commonwealth health ministers in preparation for its meeting later in May 2009.
The Conference organizers hope to bring key Civil Society organizations working in the areas of Health and Environment from Commonwealth, Asia, Africa the Caribbean and the Pacific as well as selected Government representatives from across the Commonwealth to attend the relevant sessions. The WHO and other partners as well as Ministers of Environment will be also be invited for this meeting. Minister further said that he is confident that this event will become the first of a sustained series of high level policy dialogues on climatic change and health across the Commonwealth.
|Last Updated ( Sunday, 04 January 2009 )|
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