Feb 28, 2019

Budget 2019 allocates 10.5 b for health Featured

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said he would submit a proposal to obtain Rs. 10.5 billion from the budget for the provision of stents, cataract lenses and other facilities.

In addition, the rest of the funds would be utilized for the provision of unlimited expensive medications for cancer patients, provision of stents for heart patients, lenses required for eye surgeries and all other medical requirements. Where medical facilities are not available in government hospitals, the government would pay for such expenses to obtain facilities from the private institutions.

The Health Minister said as a result of this policy decision, the government would have to bear a huge additional expense annually.

He made these statements during two public meetings held in Mathugama.

The minister said that proposals had been made to allocate Rs. 1053 million for the development of mental health. A Tuberculosis laboratory is scheduled to be established close to the Chest Hospital in Welisara at a cost of Rs.70 million. Further, a pharmaceuticals storage complex is scheduled to be constructed in Welisara at a cost of Rs. 2225 million, while Rs. 3820 is to be allocated for the development of the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital. He said Rs. 135 million is also to be allocated for the development of the Haldummulla and Pattipola herbal gardens with the aim of developing the Ayurveda field.

The minister noted, “There were various challenges when certain health proposals were made. Some doctors are supportive of these developments while others are against it. Some doctors are criticizing me for trying to provide these stents and lenses free of charge because they would lose the commissions they received previously. However, despite their criticism, I will not be deterred.”

Meanwhile, according to Finance Ministry sources, through this year’s budget the Samurdhi recipients’’ payments and the salaries of state sector employees and pensioners is expected to be increased. However, it is also expected that three types of taxes are also to be raised.