Budget 2018 displays commitment to healthcare: Prime Minister

The Deputy Director General of Education Training and Research of the Health Ministry Dr. Sunil De Alwis presents the Abstract Book to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe while Prof. Alan Lopez looks on. Picture by Hirantha Gunathilaka

The 2018 Budget outlines our commitment to boosting healthcare in Sri Lanka. We have allocated over Rs. 200 billion for the health sector and we hope to increase this, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

He was addressing the inauguration of the National Health Research Symposium - 2017 at the BMICH in Colombo, yesterday.

According to the Prime Minister, the government will be using these funds to develop new healthcare facilities, improving hospitals and relevant infrastructure to reduce congestion and improve access, preventing the spread of diseases and enhancing medical training facilities.

The Prime Minister said the government has promised to build a strong economy that will benefit us all, through better services. “We are delivering this. The health and well-being of the people is a priority of this government. We will not stand idle while people suffer like they did earlier. Since we came to power, public spending on healthcare is up by 55 percent,” the Premier said.

The government has invested in building our medical capabilities through the state-of-the-art upgrades to medical faculties, other facilities such as the National Blood Centre and the National Cancer Institute. We are also building our medical skills through colleges and training facilities such as the Batticaloa Teaching Hospital, Emergency and Accident Centre Project and the construction of an eight-storey ward complex at the Borella Ayurvedic Teaching Hospital in Colombo, he said.

This government is trusted by the international community to deliver a fair and just economy where both foreign and local companies will invest. Steps taken by the Health Ministry to develop a culture in our healthcare system to support better service delivery, demonstrates this government's commitment to the people's well-being, he added.

Science, Technology and Research Minister Susil Premajayantha said Sri Lanka still has an unfinished health agenda with the need to address Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and non standing and emerging communicable diseases, especially dengue and issues related to the aging population and malnutrition particularly among children. Over 70 percent of mortality and morbidity is due to NCDs such as heart disease, diabetes, strokes etc.

The NCDs are accountable for over 40 percent of the deaths in the country.

The keynote address was delivered by Prof. Alan Lopez. The Deputy Director General of Education Training and Research of the Health Ministry Dr. Sunil De Alwis and others also spoke. 

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