Health Ministry announces major investment in primary healthcare and cardiac facilities

Wednesday, 12 June 2024 00:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Health Ministry Secretary Dr. Palitha Mahipala reveals Rs. 70 b investment over five years at Suwa Vishishthatha award ceremony
  • Initiative focuses on enhancing medical facilities and services, particularly for managing non-communicable diseases
  • Details plan including an annual Rs. 14 b allocation under World Bank assistance for integrated health service institutions with specialist facilities
  • JICA to partner in setting up five cardiac catheterisation units
  • Stresses need for specialised health services for aging population, as 1 in 4 Sri Lankans will be over 60 by 2030
  • Reveals country faces significant health challenges; NCDs account for 89% of deaths in Sri Lanka
  • Calls for primary health service reforms to improve public education, early disease detection, management
  • Says success of health reforms depends on infrastructural improvements, quality of compassionate patient care

In a significant move to enhance health infrastructure, Health Ministry Secretary Dr. Palitha Mahipala announced plans to invest Rs. 70 billion over the next five years to strengthen primary healthcare and establish five cardiac catheterisation units across the country. 

This initiative aims to enhance medical facilities and services, particularly in managing non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Speaking at the Suwa Vishishthatha award ceremony at Rikilagaskada Base Hospital, Dr. Mahipala detailed the comprehensive plan, which includes an annual allocation of Rs. 14 billion under World Bank assistance. The investment will facilitate the development of integrated health service institutions equipped with specialist medical facilities, ensuring that patients receive comprehensive care in one location.

Highlighting the urgent need for improved cardiac care, Dr. Mahipala revealed that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is partnering with Sri Lanka to establish five cardiac catheterisation units across the country. This initiative responds to the alarming statistics that four out of 10 deaths from NCDs occur in individuals aged 50-60 years.

He stressed on the demographic shift towards an aging population, noting that by 2030, one in four Sri Lankans will be over 60 years old. This demographic change underscores the need for specialised health services for the elderly, including stroke and accident rehabilitation. Currently, Sri Lanka faces a significant burden from strokes, with 60,000 cases annually resulting in 4,000 deaths and leaving 56,000 individuals with various disabilities.

Dr. Mahipala also highlighted the high prevalence of NCDs, which account for 89% of deaths in Sri Lanka. Globally, 41 million people die annually from NCDs, with heart diseases alone claiming 17.2 million lives. Smoking remains a critical health issue, causing approximately 20,000 deaths in Sri Lanka and 8 million worldwide each year. 

To address these challenges, Dr. Mahipala called for reforms in the primary health service to improve public education, early disease detection and management.

The Secretary stressed that the success of health service reforms hinges not only on infrastructural and procedural improvements but also on the compassion and quality of care provided to patients. 

During his visit to Rikilagaskada Base Hospital, Dr. Mahipala conducted a thorough inspection of various departments, including the outpatient department, wards, clinics, laboratory, kitchen, pharmacy, intensive care unit and operating room. 

He assessed the availability of medicines, the efficiency of patient care services, ongoing development projects, and the hospital’s resource needs. As a result, Dr. Mahipala allocated Rs. 300 million for the future development of Rikilagaskada Base Hospital.

The award ceremony, organised by the Productivity Unit of Rikilagaskada Hospital, recognised outstanding service in the Special Treatment Unit Division and the Ward Division. 

The event saw participation from prominent health officials, including Central Province Health Ministry Secretary Jagath Adhikari, Central Province Health Services Director Dr. Nihal Weerasuriya, Nuwara Eliya District Health Services Director Dr. Asela Perera , Nuwara Eliya District Health Services Deputy Director Dr. Neranji Wijesuriya, Rikilagaskada Base Hospital Director Dr. Nishshanka Wijewardena, Rikilagaskada Base Hospital Development Committee Secretary Amarasena Sooriyaarachchi and other medical professionals.