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World Bank approves $150 mn. to improve Primary Healthcare Services in SL

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The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved $150 million in financing for Sri Lanka to improve the quality and utilization of its primary healthcare services. 

The newly approved Sri Lanka Primary Healthcare System Enhancing Project will help improve quality of care and increase the use of primary medical care institutions, which provide essential health services to local communities.

Capacity challenges and absence of a formal referral mechanism have led to the underutilization of primary healthcare facilities and overcrowding in tertiary care facilities in Sri Lanka. The previous World Bank-supported Primary Healthcare Systems Strengthening Project had already enhanced 550 Primary Medical Care Institutions with essential equipment, medicines, health workers and basic laboratory testing facilities. The new project will scale up these efforts to cover 100% of Primary Medical Care Institutions across all districts of Sri Lanka, expanding to over 1,000 facilities with a more comprehensive service package and improved quality of care.

“Sri Lanka’s health system has demonstrated remarkable performance, but it needs to be strengthened to face emerging health care challenges,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. “This project will support the country’s forward-looking primary care reorganization agenda, laying the foundation for a more responsive and people-centric healthcare system.”

Non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cervical cancer are a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in Sri Lanka, accounting for 80% of deaths.  Effective control and management of non-communicable diseases require robust screening, early diagnosis, treatment and follow up. Additionally, Sri Lanka has the fastest aging population in South Asia, necessitating health system adaptations to meet the growing healthcare needs of the elderly. This project is designed around these evolving health priorities, helping invest in preventive care and promoting primary care facilities as the first point of care.

In addition, the project will support the provision of comprehensive primary healthcare services by expanding capacity to cover mental health, palliative, geriatric, rehabilitative, and emergency care, which are particularly important for the aging population. The project will also bolster pandemic preparedness by expanding the capacity of primary medical care institutions to detect and respond to future infectious disease outbreaks. This will help Sri Lanka’s healthcare system to adapt and respond effectively to new and emerging challenges.

(worldbank.org)

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Cabinet approval sought to designate Wallapatta as an agricultural crop!

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The Committee on Public Accounts drew attention to the current performance of the Department of Export Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Development.

Attention was drawn to the said matter when the Committee on Public Accounts met in Parliament recently (June 18) under the Chairmanship of the State Minister – Lasantha Alagiyawanna.

The displeasure of the Committee was expressed regarding the Department of Export Agriculture not trying to develop the export in a wide range. The Committee pointed in particular that when this department was called before COPA in 2016, plans were made to increase the current export income of 0.5 billion dollars to 1 billion dollars by the year 2020. However, the Committee pointed out that it has not been fulfilled at a satisfactory level. Furthermore, the Committee mentioned that sufficient efforts are not being made to increase the export income even at this very moment.

Officials pointed out that plans have been made to identify crops with higher productivity in regions and grow them. Thus, it was recommended to submit a report in this regard to the Committee before July 31st.

Cabinet approval sought to designate Wallapatta as agricultural crop
The committee’s attention was drawn towards the issues related to the promotion of the Wallapatta plant. The Committee inquired regarding the significance of the Wallapatta plant. Furthermore, the Committee inquired whether this is a plant that harms the environment.  The officials present pointed out that this plant was used for the perfume industry and now the demand which existed has decreased. The officials present also pointed out that the cultivation of this plant does not cause any environmental damage and stated that they are hoping to get the approval of the Cabinet to designate this crop as an agricultural crop.

Delayed answers to audit queriesThe Committee questioned the officials regarding the delay in providing answers to the audit queries related to the Department of Agricultural Development and the delay in holding the Management Audit Committee meetings. Thus, the Committee instructed to convene the management audit committees in the 25 districts within the month of July.

Non-establishment of Agricultural Development CouncilsFurthermore, the Committee’s attention was drawn to the non-establishment of Agricultural Development Councils.  He recommended that a report in this regard be given to the Committee before July 15th.

Report on reclaiming paddy land
In addition, it was also recommended to give a report covering all 25 districts to the Committee regarding reclamation of paddy land.

At the end of the Committee meeting, the Committee Chair, State Minister – Lasantha Alagiyawanna mentioned that the Committee will meet and discuss again on July 26th regarding the matters contained in the report of the Auditor General Luhudu related to the Department of Agricultural Development.

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Political parties urged to publish their National Socio-economic Recovery Programmes 

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A public appeal has been made to several mainstream political party leaders to  immediately publish their respective National Socio-economic Recovery Programmes for social discourse.

The request has been formally addressed to the political party leaders of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), the National People’s Power (NPP), United National Party (UNP), Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC).

Click here for the full context of the public appeal

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