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Cabinet approval for 3 private medical colleges 

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Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella announced that the Cabinet has granted approval for the establishment of three private medical colleges within Sri Lanka. 

Minister Rambukwella emphasized that these new medical institutions will adhere to the standards set by existing medical schools in the country.

Addressing a media briefing held at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) today (11) on the theme ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’, ‘ Minister Rambukwella elaborated on the initiative, stating: “The Cabinet has already given its approval to launch three new medical colleges. 

These institutions must maintain the same high standards as our existing medical schools. We must consider the number of our youth who choose to study in private institutions or abroad. It is our moral duty to provide adequate facilities and opportunities for our country’s children.”

The Minister further stressed that “Professors who have worked as consultants in the medical colleges of our country have outlined minimum qualifications. There is a law that mandates other recognized medical schools in this country to meet or exceed these standards.  Additionally, three hospitals have been integrated into these universities.

The minister also revealed that these universities have been urged to allocate scholarships to 10% of their student population, acknowledging the existence of qualified students who face financial barriers to pursuing medical education.

Minister Rambukwella took the opportunity to address concerns about the brain drain of medical professionals, attributing it to economic challenges faced by the country in 2019. He assured that the government is committed to addressing these issues, particularly regarding doctors’ remuneration.

He highlighted the need for comprehensive short, medium and long-term plans to address these challenges and pointed out that countries like England offer significantly higher salaries to medical professionals educated in Sri Lanka’s free education system.

In furtherance of our commitment to addressing critical healthcare challenges, it is essential to consider augmenting the intake capacity in specific domains. Currently, there exist stipulated minimum qualifications and approximately 13 medical faculties throughout the country. Regrettably, only around 2000 individuals are admitted into these institutions. It is evident that there is ample room to expand these numbers, as the intellectual capabilities of 

our nation’s youth are beyond question. It is imperative to provide opportunities to those with foundational qualifications who aspire to excel in the medical field.

In a related development, the motion of no confidence presented against Minister Rambukwella in Parliament was defeated. He acknowledged the constructive suggestions provided during the debate and pledged to take steps to implement them. He also presented evidence countering false allegations made during the motion, including concerns about the quality and availability of medicines

“In response to allegations raised within the no-confidence motion, particularly concerning the quality of medicines, I had the opportunity to present evidence substantiating the veracity of our claims. Reference was made to a report from 2017 highlighting issues related to substandard medications, with subsequent years showing varying numbers of such incidents: 85 in 2018, 96 in 2019, 77 in 2020, 88 in 2021, 86 in 2022 and 43 so far in 2023.

It is worth noting that, in some cases, reports of substandard drugs have emerged years after their approval, registration and utilization. We have initiated a comprehensive investigation into these reported incidents of inferior quality medicines. Additionally, there were allegations regarding the shortage of essential medicines, a concern we take seriously and are actively addressing.

Our on-going commitment remains to bolster our healthcare system, ensure the availability of high-quality medicines and provide opportunities for aspiring medical professionals. We recognize the need for continued dialogue and effective action to overcome the challenges facing our healthcare sector and to uphold the well-being of our citizens.”

Regarding lower quality medicines, Rambukwella referenced reports from recent years, indicating that these cases are being addressed. He affirmed that the government takes such matters seriously and is committed to ensuring the quality and availability of essential medicines for the public.

(President’s Media Division)

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Decision on water tariff reduction, soon?

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Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development Jeevan Thondaman, announced that the reduction of water tariffs is being studied alongside the new electricity tariff revision, with a decision expected by the end of this week.

The Minister also highlighted that the Water Supply Board, previously experiencing a monthly loss of LKR 2.8 billion, has now achieved a profit of LKR 6.2 billion.

Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development Jeevan Thondaman made these remarks during the ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’ press briefing today (17)  at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC).

Minister Jeevan Thondaman, elaborating further, also stated:

We commend Minister Kanchana Wijesekera for initiating steps to lower electricity tariffs. The water supply sector is closely tied to electricity tariffs, making it likely that this revision will also lead to reduced water tariffs.

Water availability is influenced by various factors. We previously committed to lowering water tariffs in tandem with reductions in electricity charges. Currently, the Ministry is not only focusing on electricity but also assessing the impact of reduced interest rates, down from 26% to 11%. Additionally, we are studying the potential reduction in water tariffs based on changes in the dollar exchange rate. It’s important to note that the cost of chemicals procured by the water supply board is influenced by the dollar exchange rate.

It is expected that by the end of this week, a decision will be made regarding the extent of the reduction in the water tariff. When I assumed office in January 2023, the Ministry faced challenges, unable to even provide 1,000 new water connections. Moreover, I inherited a Ministry burdened with an USD 800 million debt and a Water Supply Board experiencing monthly losses of approximately LKR 2.8 billion. The board’s monthly recurring expenses of LKR 4.5 billion had a significant national impact.

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4 females arrested over brutal assault on child

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Aranayaka Police say that 04 female suspects have been arrested over brutally assaulting a six year old child.

The arrests were made after a video of the incident had gone viral online.

Accordingly, the women including the child’s mother, have been arrested and are to be produced before the Mawanella Magistrate’s Court today (July 17).

The child, who is under the care of his father, is to be produced before the Mawanella Judicial Medical Officer (JMO).

Aranayaka Police is conducting further investigation into the incident.

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Price of several fertilizers to be reduced

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The Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industries, Mr. Mahinda Amaraweera today (17) instructed the State Fertilizer Company to take steps to significantly reduce the prices of fertilizers used for plantation crops such as cinnamon, tea and coconut.

Accordingly, the President of State Fertilizer Company, Dr. Jagath Perera stated that the prices of 5 types of fertilizers such as APM, YPM, Urea ( Cinnamon), SA ( Cinnamon) and TDM fertilizers produced by State Fertilizer Company will be reduced from Rs.1500 to Rs.2000 with immediate effect.

A discussion was held today at the Ministry of Agriculture and Plantation Industries regarding the reduction of fertilizer prices. The minister gave these instructions during the discussion.

(dailynews.lk)

 (This story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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