Colombo: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said a comprehensive drug prevention programme would be initiated and added that the government did not intend to increase state income through cigarette and alcohol sales. He said that the government would take possible measures to boost free health service, free education and agricultural sectors.
The President made this statement during a debate in parliament on the financial heads of the health, nutrition and indigenous medicine ministry and housing and construction ministry. He said the people of this country do not have to bear the burden of health and education as it was provided free. “During the past few years we have made great strides in the health and education sectors. “As a former health minister I know the pressure I was under, but today the health minister is lucky to be able to work freely without any pressure, as I have given him the space to carry out his duties. He has also done a commendable job during the past three years, to uplift the health sector,” the President said.
While commending the health minister for giving proper leadership to the ministry to achieve unprecedented progress, President Sirisena said during his tenure as the health minister, cancer patients were only given Rs 1.5 million as treatment allocations. “But today, there is no limit on the value of a life and nowhere has a limit been imposed. Cancer patients can now get the best treatment without having to worry about the costs. We are fortunate to have good doctors, nurses and other support staff in the health sector. It is due to their commitment that we have been able to gain praise even from the WHO,” the President said.
The President said work was to commence on the construction of a kidney hospital in Polonnaruwa with Chinese aid of $ 12,000 million. The Chinese government had pledged to construct this hospital during President Sirisena’s first official visit to China. “Further, during my official visit to Australia last year, I observed the great success Australia has gained in the health sphere through nuclear technology and requested their expertise for Sri Lanka, which they obliged. Hence we signed an agreement and the benefits of this effort will also be seen in the near future,” he said.