The newly-set-up ‘COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund’ will coordinate raising of financial and other resources with global agencies and partners based on best guidelines for resource allocations, harmonised national procurement system and governance practices.
Some of the organisations include the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Sri Lanka’s major development partner community and agencies.
Official sources told Daily FT that this key coordination was among eight broader objectives of the Fund, a brainchild of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who earlier this week authorised Rs. 100 million from the President’s Fund for this initiative
The Fund will be managed under a management committee consisting of relevant line ministry secretaries, bankers, financial analysts and health authorities.
Other objectives of the COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund are:
- To provide immediate funding requirements of Director General, Health Services to meet all expenditure connected with COVID - 19 related healthcare facilities including drugs, testing equipment and capacity expenses.
- To meet expenses connected to healthcare and safety of health sector employees and all logistic providers working to provide essential public delivery services.
- To provide basic essentials to children, women, low income, elderly, differently abled and vulnerable people.
- To mobilise required funding to strengthen public healthcare systems, including village and remote area dispensaries, testing and treatment centres, family healthcare system, to further consolidate Sri Lanka’s public healthcare system to reduce country risks to communicable diseases.
- To assist indigenous medicine, sanitary product manufacturing and distribution, promote research to use local resources, knowledge and skills to innovate new health and sanitation products based on local raw materials.
- To promote research and innovation using Sri Lanka’s medical and scientific knowledge and experience to develop protective dresses and sanitation products to global market.
- To promote healthy living with organic food consumption, valuing traditional, yet rich living styles, through media and educational programs.
A special account had been opened at the Corporate Branch of the Bank of Ceylon under the account number of 85737373. Local as well as foreign donors can make their financial contributions to the COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund. Donations will be exempted from tax and foreign exchange regulations. Deposits can be made through cheques or telegraphic transfers.
In a statement early this week Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera expressed hope that the Fund would be an opportunity for the local and foreign companies to make their contributions towards a humanitarian mission. It is expected that foreign states, international financial organisations and leading conglomerates in Sri Lanka as well as abroad will take a leading role.