Govt.’s 100 days program in Health Ministry a mega flop-Benefits of new Drugs Policy have so far not reached the people ­­- GMOF
Posted on April 20th, 2015

Courtesy Island

The Government Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) says that the government’s 100 days program in the Health Ministry was an utter failure and a mega flop.

The only namesake achievement in this sector was to push through the Drugs Policy in parliament, which even many parliamentarians didn’t know much about. Stakeholders were kept in the dark. The drugs regulatory authority, including the DGHS, also had no idea about this new piece of legislation, the trade union asserted in a statement.

After the passage of the Drugs Policy for the sake of a promise to the people, the government adopted a laid-back approach without initiating necessary action to give the benefits flowing from this legislation to the people, the GMOF noted.

The masses are still awaiting relief in terms of reductions in prices of drugs. The pharmaceutical industry is still enjoying its ‘mafia status’. They continue to sponsor Health Ministry events and “look after” certain doctors for mutual benefits, the statement claimed.

The GMOF complained that many key medical administrative positions in the Health Ministry continue to remain vacant.  Amongst the top slots for which permanent appointments have still not been made are additional secretary (medical services) and additional secretary (public health), deputy director general (planning) and deputy director general (laboratory services).

In addition, around 70 senior administrative positions and 150 deputy administrative positions are still vacant in the government health services, the statement noted.

The political hierarchy will, at the drop of a hat, assure that “necessary action has been initiated to fill the vacancies”. This was the same answer given by the previous regime for five years since 2010, but nothing happened, it said.

How can the country’s health services run effectively when key top slots remain vacant? Is this the so-called good governance policy?, the statement queried.

For the first time in the medical administrative history of the government health sector, a political appointee was named as the director of a major hospital with over 1,000 beds outside Colombo. The political appointee concerned is not qualified for the job. The filling of this vacancy by regular means has also been stopped, the GMOF asserted.

Two retired directors have been given appointments to lucrative positions within and outside Colombo through Cabinet approval. Trade union leaders have been interdicted without natural justice for expressing their views on corruption in the Health Ministry, the statement further claimed.

An additional secretary has been handpicked to cover medical services by ignoring the senior most DDG. No action has been taken to tackle corruption although the former Health Minister and now incumbent president is on record saying that corruption is rampant in the Health Ministry, it asserted.

The GMOF statement queried whether it is the norm of good governance to appoint the Minister’s wife as his private secretary, who, it is no secret, is the de facto permanent secretary to the ministry. Officials have become puppets under these circumstances.


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