Health Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana revealed that 91% of Sri Lankan children have received the measles vaccine, during media briefing. The achievement is a pivotal step in combatting the recent resurgence of the disease, showcasing the country’s commitment to proactive healthcare.
Dr. Pathirana highlighted the success of targeted programs that swiftly addressed the rise in measles cases. Within weeks, 91% of children were successfully vaccinated, effectively shielding them from this preventable disease. The minister emphasized the importance of proactive measures to curb outbreaks and credited public cooperation alongside support from health and security departments.
Addressing health priorities for 2024, Dr. Pathirana outlined key strategies, with a focus on disease prevention, strengthening primary healthcare services, and improving efficiency for patients. Prompt access to essential resources emerged as a crucial focus, reflecting the government’s dedication to enhancing overall healthcare infrastructure.
Despite the success in combating communicable diseases, tackling non-communicable diseases (NCDs) remains a major challenge. Over 20% of Sri Lankans battle diabetes, and the country holds the highest prevalence of high blood pressure among over-35s in South Asia. Dr. Pathirana stressed the importance of addressing these concerns and their associated complications for the long-term health of the nation.
With a rapidly aging population, Sri Lanka is proactively addressing the rise of NCDs related to memory impairment, eye diseases, and bone diseases through dedicated programs.
Dengue fever, a pressing concern, is being actively tackled with special efforts. Dr. Pathirana called for increased public collaboration alongside support from health and security departments. Recognizing the urgency, the minister emphasized the need for collective action to combat the rapid spread of dengue fever.
Acknowledging existing drug shortages, the government is actively importing essential medicines to alleviate the issue. Dr. Pathirana highlighted ongoing efforts to develop an online platform in collaboration with the IT Departments of Moratuwa and Colombo Universities. This platform aims to bring transparency and efficiency to the entire drug supply and procurement process, ensuring a streamlined and accessible medical supply system.