At meeting with medical professionals Gotabaya Rajapaksa vows to revamp health service
Posted on October 11th, 2019

Courtesy Ceylon Today

We will set up a high-quality health service in Sri Lanka, by regulating it through a formalised national policy, Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.

He was speaking at a meeting with medical professionals, which was held recently in Colombo. At the event, Rajapaksa said:

It is a dream of parents to see their child becomes a doctor. Similarly, children also prefer to become doctors someday. That is because the medical profession is one that commands great respect from the society. In present times, gaining entry to a medical faculty is a very competitive endeavour. It is only those students who show exceptional skills in a competitive exam that are admitted to medical faculties. It is a selection which is done with impartiality, based purely on merit. Both before and after entering the medical faculty, students have to make a multitude of sacrifices in their adolescence, youth and in school life, in order to qualify as a doctor.

 A qualified doctor, attached to the government sector, has to fulfil his/her responsibilities, by serving in remote areas of the country, with fewer resources. Therefore, the Government must be sensitive to these realities. Efforts must be made to pay the due respect and appreciation befitting the medical profession. It is one of the basic demands of the doctors of this country, that their profession should be free from political influence. We believe that it is a very reasonable demand. Therefore, through the Government we hope to form in the future, we will work towards ridding the medical profession of political influence.

We hope to equip the hospital system of the country with state-of-the-art facilities and simultaneously to put into action a proper human resource management plan. We will completely depoliticise and rid of political influence, the stationing of doctors and other medical professionals around the country, opportunities to doctors for post-graduate studies and expand further education opportunities. Especially, we will not let crucial institutions like the Medical Council become politicised. We will take every possible step to safeguard the independence of such institutions. We will ensure that transfers of doctors and their opportunities for scholarships to pursue further education, are free from political influence. Medical education in this country has maintained a high standard of quality. It is the responsibility of the Government to facilitate the maintenance of that higher standard. We will never let that standard of medical education be degraded or compromised according to political sway. After coming to an agreement with the stakeholder sectors about a minimum standard of medical education, we will take steps to issue a Gazette on it. It is also a timely need to bring in necessary amendments to the Medical Ordinance, which dates back to more than 90 years. Today, the medical field is updating and advancing every moment, owing to new technology and new innovations. 

At present, there has arisen a necessity for quality-controlled laboratories, in order to ensure the quality of the medicine that is provided to the public. Therefore, we believe that a mechanism should be put in place, with the participation of medical professionals, which continually informs and disseminates the advancements and innovations made in the medical field, among the doctors of Sri Lanka. We will also formulate a special programme, in order to retain doctors and other professionals within Sri Lanka. We desire to build a country with happy and productive citizens. Maintaining good health of citizens is important in this connection. 

The free health service must be truly free. If the public has to pay for their basic medical requirements, it ceases to be a free health service. Therefore, the manner in which State funds are utilised in the medical field must be looked into. Such funds should be used towards the welfare of the public. Wastage and misuse of it must be controlled. If more funds are needed to ensure the welfare of the public through the medical field, we are prepared to allocate such funds. 

Today, there is a need for quality-controlled laboratories, to ensure the quality of medicine that is given to the public. In order to rid Sri Lanka of the pharmaceutical monopolies and mafias, this country needs a Drug Policy, based on the true core idea of Senaka Bibile’s policy. We will set up a high-quality health service in Sri Lanka, by regulating it through a formalised national policy. 

We need to take the medical sector forward, by basing it on indicators focusing on good health, rather than indicators of ill health. We will build an economy which does not depend on tax revenue received from cigarettes and alcohol. Food security is a crucial aspect of national security. 

Therefore, we will promote local produce through the development of the field of agriculture, and we will not hesitate to make strict decisions on the importation of milk powder and other non-essential food items from abroad. We hope to formulate a programme aiming at the reduction of non-communicable diseases, through programmes focusing on ensuring food security and limiting the use of chemical fertilizers. 

The structure of the State mechanism and the commitments of politicians are essential in building the prosperous Nation that everyone expects. Through the Government that we hope to form in the future, in order to execute its new national programme, we will appoint Members of Parliament to the relevant Ministries, of which they are most suited to assume the responsibilities. We also hope to properly constitute the Cabinet of Ministers of the new Government. 

We need the assistance of every professional in the task of development of this country. The day has come when we should come forward to do our duty. 

I request all professionals, including doctors, to come together to free Sri Lanka from the present crisis, and build a country which our future generations will be proud to live in. 

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