|SRILANKA LAUDED AT WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY FOR ITS HEALTH ACHIEVEMENTS|
|Tuesday, 27 May 2008|
The health indicators of Sri Lanka came into high praise at a Special Session of the World Health Assembly that is currently being held in Geneva. In recognition of these achievements, the Hon Minister of Health, Mr. Nimal Siripala de Silva was invited as a guest speaker to share the Sri Lanka experience on Social Determinants of Health with the members of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health and the Representatives of the Member States of the WHO in a special meeting convened for the purpose of briefing on the work done so far by the Commission. The other speakers of this Conference were Prof. Sir Michael Marmot, Chair of the Commission, Dr. Compos from Brazil, Dr. Freka Pukka from Finland, Ms. Mirai Chatterjee , SEWA - India, Ms. Ndioro Ndiaye, Deputy Director General of IOM and the meeting was chaired by Dr. Tim Evans, Deputy Director General, Commission on Social Determinants of Health, WHO.
Prof Marmot in his introduction referred to Sri Lanka as a high achiever in health despite its relatively low per capita income and that the Sri Lankan experience could be used as an example by other countries. The Hon Minister of Health provided an overview of Sri Lanka’s health achievements in the and emphasized that these achievements were primarily due to free education and free health care systems that were introduced and continued since Independence.
These were successfully protected and carried on by successive governments in spite of many difficulties. Achieving life expectancy of 75 years for women and 73 years for men is more or less equivalent to the indicators of developed countries such as the United States of America, where the per capita incomes are 30 times that of Sri Lanka. The regional and global experience demonstrates that a high literacy rate in a country, particularly that of women, has been an essential ingredient to achieve impressive health gains as in Sri Lanka.
Free compulsory education and free health which are offered to the citizens of Sri Lanka have contributed immensely to produce the impressive results in the health sector, despite a low per capita income.Speaking on the challenges faced by the Sri Lankan health sector, Hon. Minister emphasized the spread of non communicable diseases such as diabetics, cardio vascular disease, and cancer as threats to the curative care sector despite the impressive achievement made by Sri Lanka by eliminating, measles, leprosy, polio and malaria and many other communicable diseases. Hon. Minister further added that even through Sri Lanka produces nearly 1000 doctors a year and 15000 nurses during last three years, there are gaps in the area of mental health, radiology, pathology, neuro surgery. Sri Lankan government is addressing this issue seriously and urged the WHO to accelerate its process of evolving a fair international code of conduct for migrant health personals from developing countries.
The achievements of science and modern technology in the area of health has caused several problems with regard to the high cost of curative care as the new technology has become unaffordable to the developing countries. The rationale of investing more on public health and preventive programmes would be the answer to these emerging problems was brought to the attention. Although there are several arguments to the effect of including user charges and privatization of health care the civil society and the governments stood firmly against such proposals and the fruits of the correct decisions taken at that time are visible.
The minister urged that the world health organization should adopt the commission report as early as possible and should formulate an action programme to implement the same taking into consideration of ground realities of the each member country. He thanked the Commissioners for their deliberations and the excellent report. He further said that it was a great pleasure that Sri Lanka associates itself with the deliberation of the Commission since its inception.
|Last Updated ( Sunday, 04 January 2009 )|
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