Sri Lanka takes steps to improve the quality of mental health care

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Sri Lanka’s Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said that a health policy will be formulated to improve the quality of mental health services.

Participating in the inaugural ceremony of the 17th Annual Academic Sessions of Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrists as the Chief Guest, the Minister of Health noted that psychiatry, which cares for people with mental disabilities, can be pointed out as an important part of the field of mental health.

“People with mental disabilities should be treated with respect. As something we need to promote within the community is the need to be compassionate about people with mental illness in the same way as people with heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes,” the Minister noted.

“We will formulate a health policy to improve the quality of mental health services. I look forward to working on that in the future,” she added.

“The health services provided by the Ministry of Health have been expanded targeting all the people in the country and not been limited only to the major hospitals in the country. We are pleased to announce that we have employed not only psychiatrists but also medical officers with diplomas in psychiatry at many district level hospitals. Accordingly, we have been able to provide a health service close to the people.”

The Minister said the Sri Lanka College of Psychiatry has extended its full support to the Ministry of Health to improve psychiatric care in all districts of the country

“I greatly appreciate the services provided by psychiatrists in a variety of situations. It is gratifying that many of you have returned to serve the motherland despite the great demand in all developed countries for you as a psychiatrist. As the Minister of Health, I extend my fullest support to the development of psychiatric units in healthcare institutions island wide to provide a better and modernized psychiatric service.”

The Minister pointed out that community service is important, as it allows people to receive the care they need, even in their own homes.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Health was able to continue to deliver medicines to the homes of all patients using the postal service. We are happy about that. Under the guidance of the President and the Prime Minister, we took steps to provide the maximum possible health care to the people, even in such critical situations. This shows the commitment of the new government and the health sector.”

“I hope that psychiatrists will be able to gain a wealth of knowledge through the 17th Annual Academic Session,” the Minister said in conclusion.

Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Prof. Shehan Williams, President of the Sri Lanka College of Psychiatry, Secretary Dr. Sanjeewana Amarasinghe, Treasurer Dr. Aruni Hapangama, and a group of psychiatrists were present on this occasion.

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