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    UHC prevails for nearly seven decades in SL: Minister Featured

    May 23, 2019

    Sri Lanka has had universal health coverage (UHC) for nearly seven decades, through a comprehensive and free-of-charge healthcare system incorporating preventive and curative rehabilitation care, Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. He was speaking at the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

    The minister commended the measures taken by the government to prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Sri Lanka, adding that the prevention and early detection of NCDs was being stepped up at 846 lifestyle centres and 906 women’s clinics, island-wide.

    “We have imposed a 90-percent tax on tobacco and limited its sales,” the minister said, adding that the aim was to reduce smoking in the country by 13 percent. “There are also restrictions on sugar and trans fats, as well as a tax on carbonated drinks,” he said. Minister Dr. Senaratne said that measures had also been taken to make medicine and other medical facilities more affordable for patients while also increasing the production of pharmaceuticals in the country.

    State hospitals provide free intra-ocular lenses, cardiac stents, cochlear implants, prosthesis, cancer drugs, and organ transplants, he said, adding that the Heath Ministry has also upgraded laboratory facilities at state hospitals. The minister said that automated analysers provided to state hospitals reduced the financial burdens of patients. He also said that 300 dialysis machines would soon be provided to high-risk CKDu (Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology) zones in the country.

    Minister Dr. Senaratne said that a health assessment scheme would shortly be launched in order to curb a resurgence of malaria or filariasis, as certain tourists could carry the disease. Furthermore, he added that programmes would also be launched to prevent the spread of the Human Immunodeficiency Viruses (HIV), tuberculosis, dengue, malaria, and filariasis among the public.

    Last modified on Thursday, 23 May 2019 10:35

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