Sri Lanka to hold World Health Day 2018

The 142nd Session of the Executive Board of the WHO in progress.

The World Health Day 2018 will be held in Sri Lanka under the theme 'Universal Health Coverage (UHC)'.

Director General (DG) of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the decision in Geneva during the 142nd Session of the Executive Board of the WHO yesterday.

The DG congratulating Sri Lanka, which celebrates its 70th Independence Anniversary next month, said, "there is no more fitting place for this event, as you know, Sri Lanka has a long history of providing free healthcare for its people.”

In response Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, who is attending the WHO Executive Board as a Member, thanked the Director General of the WHO on the selection of Sri Lanka to celebrate the important event. He said Sri Lanka looks forward to welcoming Dr. Tedros and high-level officials of the WHO including the Regional Director, SEAR to the event.

The Minister said that Sri Lanka was considered by most experts as a low cost, high impact, model of health care in South East Asia and the world. "My country has eliminated malaria, filariasis and neonatal tetanus as public health problems. Good achievements in maternal and child healthcare, high life expectancy, and near universal child immunization coverage were also achieved,” the Minister said.

Minister Dr. Senaratne highlighted the challenges countries like Sri Lanka face - fast ageing populations, very high burden from NCDs, minimal and often inadequate elderly care packages and services and inequitable access to services for the disabled and vulnerable populations. He said these services need to be strengthened.

Sri Lanka urged the DG/WHO to sustain strong political advocacy at global level for UHC and also to consider putting together a binding international convention on improving coverage, access, financial protection and quality of care in support of UHC.

The Sri Lanka delegation to the 142nd Executive Board of the WHO includes Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha; Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Director General Health; Dr. Palitha Abeykoon, Chairman, National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol; Dr. Champika Wickramasinghe, Deputy Director General/Non-communicable Diseases;, Dr. A.I. Jagoda, Director Health Information, and Dulmini Dahanayake, Second Secretary of the Sri Lanka Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva. 


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