Sri Lanka health sector faced many challenges in the wake of the recent economic crisis – Health Minister

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Minister of Health Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella says Sri Lanka’s health sector has faced a lot of challenges due to the recent economic crisis along with the Covid-19 epidemic and the dedication of the health workers in all these situations has been instrumental in maintaining the continuity of all the essential services.

The minister said this while addressing the first session of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) panel of experts held Monday (24) at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo.

The Minister said that compared to the healthcare services of the whole world, the health sector of Sri Lanka is at a very high level and the country has a well-developed public health service system based on prevention and promotion. He said the achievements in maternal and child health and the eradication of infectious diseases such as malaria, polio, etc. are a proof of the country’s developed health system

The BIMSTEC conference is a regional coalition consisting of seven Southeast Asian countries namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The main objective of this is to create technical and economic cooperation in the South Asian and Southeast Asian countries around the Bay of Bengal.

At the 17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Conference held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 01 April 2021 and at the 19th Ministerial Conference held in Bangkok, Thailand on 09 March 2023, the health ministers agreed to establish an expert group for research and planning to examine the scope of public health. At the conference, they agreed to explore the possibility of getting international support for building the regional capacity of this sector.

Accordingly, health professionals, development partners and representatives from Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar and Thailand participate in the conference which started Monday and will be held until Thursday (27 July). Lengthy discussions will be held with partner institutions on the development and expansion of the regional mechanism for preparedness and response to epidemics in the region, improving regional health security and achieving several goals of public health improvement in the region, and there will also be a discourse on the next steps to be taken.

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