Hon. Keheliya Rambukwella, the Minister of Health, stated that the 28 million USD grant provided by China, has been utilized to ensure the supply of 14 vital medicines required. The Minister stated the said in response to concerns raised by Members of Parliament regarding the on-going rumors regarding the shortage of medicine in the country.
Furthermore, the Minister explained that an allocation of 200 million USD from the Indian credit line have been made to cater to the needs of the health sector. He also stated that Cabinet approval has been granted to allocate the remaining 35 million USD from the one billion USD received from the Indian Credit line in addition to the 200 million USD for the same.
The Minister of Health, Hon. Keheliya Rambukwella stated the above at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Health, held recently (24) in Parliament under his chairmanship.
Further concerns were raised regarding excessive charges in private hospitals in a context where free health is facing challenges to meet the demand due to the forex crisis. Members of Parliament stated that given the failure to maintain government hospitals and provide with requisite medical equipment, patients are thus compelled to obtain the service of private hospitals.
The minister stated that by next year approximately a 25% – 30% of rise in those who will resort to government hospitals is unavoidable. He stated that it has come to a point where the middle-income category cannot afford private hospital facilities further.
The Minister also emphasized that the Ministry of Finance allocate money first and foremost for the purpose of paying the wages of public servants, for forces and for pensioners. The very next priority is given for allocating money for health. Nevertheless, it only suffices to manage he said.
Furthermore, concerns were also raised about transfers of the technical medical staff. The Members of Parliament were of the view that since technical medical staff are stationed in areas far away from their hometowns, they face great difficulties especially in times of an economic crisis.
The Minister stated that a decision should be arrived at to transfer everyone subjected to a limit of 5-6 years. The Minister stated that there are practical concerns in arranging transfers as it is hard to find someone willing to agree to a mutual exchange between stations.
Minister Naseer Ahamed, State Minister Hon. (Dr.) Seetha Arambepola, Hon. Sisira Jayakody, Members of Parliament including Hon. (Dr.) Rajitha Senarathne, Hon. Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Hon. Ashok Abeysinghe, Hon. Weerasumana Weerasinghe, Hon. Hon. Sivagnanam Shritharan, officials representing the Ministry of health and affiliated institutions were present at the Committee meeting held.