Home / Healthcare/ Health sector to leap forward on important public health challenge

Health sector to leap forward on important public health challenge

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 6 March 2019 00:00



By Dr.Hathshya M.Munasingha

Sri Lanka stands out among the regional counterparts in having good health indicators for which successive governmentshave contributed with social development policies. The high literacy rate is also seen as a major contribution to the success.

Major achievements of the country are elimination of smallpox, polio and neonatal tetanus with control of measles and indigenous malaria. TB, HIV/AIDS do not pose as alarming public health problems. Nevertheless, it is important to control TB although low prevalent. The country has embarked on national ‘stop TB’ plan, but realises that much more effort is needed than what is happening now. 

Similarly,the country is malaria-free but it still runs the risk of reintroduction with inbound migrants coming from malaria-endemic countries. A large number of migrants now come to Sri Lanka for employment purposes,largely from countries that have higher caseloads of TB and HIV. Up to now, Sri Lanka has not put any mandatory health check-up to enter the country or after entering. A large number of labour migrants also access our free health system without any payment.

Tourists and labour migrants are needed resources and they are an essential source for income generation. But the country also needs safe services guards when it is at a point of elimination of infectious diseases, and reintroduction of those diseases through migrants needs careful consideration for a smooth run of prevention and control of communicable diseases programs.

To address many of these challenges,the Ministry of Health has had much consultation.Initially, the idea of inbound health assessment for resident visa applicants was put forward by President Maithripala Sirisena and now is being championed by Health Minister Rajitha Senaratna. The Ministry has come up with a Health Protection Plan (HPP) for long- stay visa applicants.

The key features of this HPP are as follows.

nHealth assessment conducted two weeks after coming into the country which will be a requirement also to get the resident visa

nHealth coverage within the government health services for outpatient primary care and emergency care

nMinistry intends to implement the HPP for a nominal fee to cover expenses of the Health Assessment and the annual Health Protection coverage

It is the country’s responsibility to provide health protection to those living in the country, not only for the citizens’ public health interest but also to protect their health. Up to now, there has not been any structured system and by introducing to the HPP, the Ministry’s aim is to detect and curb any possible transmission by offering treatment and follow up without discrimination.

Under the theme of ‘prevention is better than cure’, the country is seen to timely takea step to introduce a Health Protection Plan to the resident visa holders. It will be a significant achievement forpublic health improvement in Sri Lanka.

The writer is a Consultant Community Physician.

Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

Fake news rampant after Sri Lanka attacks despite social media ban

Friday, 24 May 2019

AFP: Sri Lankan social networks saw a surge in fake news after the Easter suicide bombings a month ago despite an official social media blackout, highlighting the inability of governments to contain disinformation, experts said. A nine-day ban on pl

Who built the Matara/Beliatta railway line?

Friday, 24 May 2019

In 2019, after 70 long years of independence, Sri Lanka succeeded in adding to the rail network left behind by the British when we extended the southern line from Matara to Beliatta, a distance of less than 20 miles. While the network left in place b

Occupational prestige further propagates a divisive society

Friday, 24 May 2019

Occupational prestige is regarded by society as an individual’s social standing based on the occupational position in the hierarchical social structure of an aggregate of occupations. Accordingly, the general public perceive certain occupations hig

17 things ‘Avengers: Endgame’ teaches us about the state of our superheroes

Friday, 24 May 2019

Art imitates life. Even movies do. Maybe especially so. In these lean times, there’s nothing like a little laughter to stop the press, stem the blood pressure, ease that stress in life. So here goes. Trust you’ll take these tongue-in-cheek. Or pe

Columnists More