Addressing the gathering at the opening of the third medical ward complex at the Colombo National Hospital recently, President Rajapaksa said that people wish 220 years of long life for 120 years by anointing oil in the New Year. “We took brave decisions on behalf of the people in connection with alcohol and smoking. We will likewise, implement the Prof. Senaka Bibile Drug Policy which was delayed for years,” he said.
Rajapaksa also added: “This is gradually becoming true. During the 30-year brutal conflict, our life expectancy was decided by terrorists. But it was not a health problem. People did not know whether they would return home alive when they used to go to work in the morning, when the country was plagued by terrorism. The National Hospital staff bears, witness to this tragic situation. They tended to thousands of wounded children, mothers, young war heroes in the past,” he said.
Rajapaksa assured that they will never have to face this situation ever again. “We will never let terrorism raise its ugly head again.” He said the Government never postponed or ignored the country’s development using the war as an excuse. Funds were granted for the development projects. The foundation stone was laid for the third medical ward complex in 2006.
A program was also launched to manufacture drugs locally at Kurunegala and investors were invited. Some specialist doctors are capable of manufacturing drugs locally. The free health service has always been protected and strengthened.
President Rajapaksa pointed out that arrangements were made to improve the free health service from welfare level to an upper level and as a result, 15,000 nurses and 17,000 doctors were recruited to the health service. The Government allocated Rs. 125 billion for them.
President Rajapaksa stressed that we need more specialist doctors, “We commenced the 1,000 hospitals development program. We develop rural hospitals, but people prefer to visit Colombo General Hospital because the easy access road network made it easy for them to meet their favourite specialist doctor.”
Rajapaksa went on to say that if there is a small delay in allocating funds, it appears in newspapers in bold letters, but the Government have allocated more funds for the health sector and the amounts have been increased annually. “We have granted additional funds on the request of the Health Minister. We can build giant buildings and provide modern medical equipment but we need a proper mechanism to maintain them. As a country, we can achieve developed status by creating a healthy nation,” the President said.