April 18, 2024
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    President Urges Collective Effort to Enhance Healthcare Services and Boost National Economy Featured

    March 23, 2024

    President Ranil Wickremesinghe underscored a concerning trend in the healthcare sector of Sri Lanka: the significant emigration rate among trained medical professionals. He noted that approximately 30 to 40 out of every 100 doctors or nurses trained in the country opt to leave, a circumstance deemed unfavourable for the nation.

    The President stressed that it is incumbent upon all individuals to enhance healthcare services within the nation, which boasts some of the world’s highest standards in medical care, and to actively contribute to the country’s economic prosperity.

    President Ranil Wickremesinghe made these remarks during his attendance at the inauguration ceremony of the accident and emergency care unit of Point Pedro Base Hospital. This facility was constructed as part of the Government of the Netherlands’ Development Related Infrastructure Investment Vehicle (DRIVE), relief loan scheme and officially vested in the public yesterday (22).

    The DRIVE a subsidy programme established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands to support public infrastructure projects in developing countries which contribute to the country’s advancement.

    The President stated that he has instructed the Sir John Kotalawana Defence University to augment its recruitment efforts to fulfil the requirements in medical and nursing fields. Additionally, he underscored the importance of enhancing facilities to support the training programs in these areas.

    Meanwhile, the President noted that for Faculty of Medicine, National School of Business Management (NSBM) Green University has been granted authorization to operate a teaching hospital, while Lyceum Campus has expressed interest in this endeavour as well.

    Furthermore, the President emphasized the importance of integrating modern technology, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), into the healthcare sector of the country to ensure the upkeep of contemporary medical systems.

    The President expressed gratitude to the Government of the Netherlands for extending this facility to the communities of Jaffna and Point Pedro.

    A sum of LKR 04 billion has been allocated through the Government of the Netherlands’ DRIVE Concessional Loan Scheme for the enhancement of Point Pedro Base Hospital’s infrastructure including Accident & Emergency unit (A&E), Preliminary Care Unit (PCU), Radiology Development (X-Ray, Ultrasound Scanner and CT Scanner), Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Operation Theatres, Neonatal ICU, Premature Baby Care Unit (PBCU), Surgical Ward, Maternity Ward, Central Sterile Supply Division (CSSD)Dialysis Unit and Laboratory. This funding has facilitated the advancement of modern healthcare facilities within the hospital premises.

    Following the unveiling of the memorial plaque and the inauguration of the emergency unit, the President embarked on an inspection tour and engaged in amicable discussions with the hospital personnel. Moreover, the President extended tokens of appreciation to Sri Lanka’s Dutch Ambassador Bonnie Horbach and Managing Director of VAMED Paul de Bruin.

    Additionally, a commemorative gift was bestowed upon President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

    Addressing the gathering, State Minister for Health Sitha Arambepola highlighted the significance of the development initiatives at Point Pedro Base Hospital, considering it a notable milestone in advancing healthcare services within the Northern Province. She expressed gratitude to the Government of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Embassy in Sri Lanka for their invaluable support and financial assistance extended under the DRIVE project.

    Governor of the Northern Province P.S.M Charles emphasized the importance of utilizing the modern healthcare facilities at Point Pedro Base Hospital efficiently and effectively for the advancement of healthcare services across the nation. Furthermore, the governor urged the health authorities of both the Provincial Government and Central Government of the Northern Province to collaborate closely to maximize the utilization of this hospital for the welfare of the public.

    Bonnie Horbach, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Sri Lanka, emphasized that fostering equal rights for all Sri Lankans is integral to the reconciliation process, beginning with fundamental rights like access to healthcare and safety.

    Approximately six years ago, VAMED entered into an agreement with the Ministry of Health to develop four hospitals in the Northern Province. The estimated total construction value for these four hospitals is 16 million Euros, with a decision made to provide a grant of 25% of that amount, which is 4 million Euros, Mrs. Horbach stated.

    She observed that due to the challenges and economic crisis brought about by the COVID pandemic, the Government of the Netherlands opted to raise the percentage of grants from the total development cost to 35%. This increase demonstrates the Government of the Netherlands dedication to improving healthcare services in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

    Minister Douglas Devananda, State Ministers Angajan Ramanathan and Kader Masthan, Member of Parliament Dharlingam Siddharthan, former State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran, Senior Adviser to the President on National Security and Chief of the Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake, hospital staff, and various others were present at this gathering.

    Meanwhile the inauguration of the “Farm to Gate” web application, developed on the directives of Northern Province Governor Mrs. P.S.M. Charles to boost business opportunities also took place at Palali Air Force Base, spearheaded by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, yesterday (22).

    The “Farm to Gate” platform aims to empower farmers and small and medium enterprises across the country by providing access to broader markets, ensuring fair prices and benefits for their produce, and establishing direct connections between small-scale producers and consumers. This initiative is designed to eliminate the influence of intermediaries and strengthen the economic independence of farmers, gardeners, and small-scale entrepreneurs.

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