President assures a national health system with equal benefits for everyone

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says that a robust national health system would be implemented to benefit all people irrespective of their social status and to cover all parts of the country.

President Rajapaksa urged to present new ideas to achieve this goal within a short period.

The President made these remarks participating as the Chief Guest at the inaugural day of the 43rd Annual Academic Session of the Kandy Society of Medicine held in Kandy, on Wednesday, April 7. President Rajapaksa stressed the need for the entire health care community including doctors and other healthcare professionals to work with the government to identify and address long-term problems.

“As doctors, you are well aware of the crucial role medical professionals play in our society. Their impact has been considerably heightened in the past year as a result of the global pandemic. That Sri Lanka managed to perform creditably on this front, despite extremely challenging circumstances, is a tribute to the strength and professionalism of our healthcare personnel and our public health infrastructure,” he said.

He also said that during his visits to villages in 17 districts, to attend the ‘Discussion with the Village’ programme, he was able to first-hand experience the numerous problems faced by the rural and estate community. There were some weaknesses that needed to be overcome in the health system. The President pointed out that if these shortcomings were allowed to continue, serious adverse consequences could arise.

“One of the most significant problems that has been raised time and again in my visits to these villages has been the lack of adequate healthcare facilities in these areas. In some regions, the villagers need to travel more than thirty to forty kilometers to consult doctors and receive proper medical care. Certainly, it is not a satisfactory situation where these poor villagers are concerned,” he pointed out.

“Even though Sri Lanka has a free healthcare system, these structural problems in the distribution of healthcare are a significant hurdle we must overcome. If the present problems continue for much longer, the trust and respect that people in those communities have towards the broader medical community, will come under strain. In this context, people’s trust and confidence in the government too will decline,” he added.

The President emphasized the need to overcome this situation in rural areas and to ensure the immediate and careful attention of the medical community to guarantee good health for the entire population.

“As outlined in the Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour Policy Document, the central policy framework of our Government, ensuring a healthy nation is one of our foremost goals. We must build a national healthcare system in which Sri Lankans of all backgrounds and in all parts of the country have access to healthcare at a decent standard. We will need new and innovative initiatives to ensure this in a short span of time,” he also stated.