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Thursday, 24 January 2002  
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Government - Gazette

Sunday Observer

Budusarana On-line Edition

Japan funds video series on healthy lifestyles

The Japanese Government has provided a sum of US$ 61,720 (approximately Rs. 5.7 million) to the University of Peradeniya towards the project for design and production of an audiovisual series of programs on healthy lifestyles for public education in Sri Lanka. This public service project was proposed jointly by the Departments of Community Medicine and Community Dental Health of the Faculties of Medicine and Dental Science respectively of the University of Peradeniya.

The project aims to design and produce a series of short programs. These programs will be on video and other multimedia formats, covering the "common risk factors" responsible for damaging, yet preventable illnesses and disability in Sri Lanka. Risk factors incorporated in unhealthy lifestyles include tobacco, alcohol, stress, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, sexual behaviour, poor hygiene, and accidents. Such factors significantly contribute to the unnecessary burden of illness causing cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, diseases of the teeth and mouth, infectious diseases, accidental injury and many other health problems.

To encourage the adoption of healthy lifestyles is the cornerstone of health promotion. Thus, it is important to implement a public education program in an attractive and persuasive manner to inform and motivate people to adopt desirable health habits, which will be universally recognized.

This project will be implemented by the University of Peradeniya in partnership with the Health Education Bureau of the Ministry of Health and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). A coalition of the medical and dental professionals from the University, Ministry of Health and JICA will launch the project to design a series of programs in a professional manner. The program will incorporate modern communication strategies while harnessing the skills of media experts and the advertising industry, in order to receive maximum public appeal. Expert input from relevant clinical consultants will also be obtained to ensure that the educational messages transmitted are balanced and based on sound scientific evidence.

These productions will be repeatedly broadcast on national television to enhance the public of the entire country on preventive health care and aware of health risk factor. Afterward these will be available to health workers attached to government hospitals, schools and other related facilities for healthcare as a composite educational package for use in specific health programs in a wide range of local settings throughout the country.

This grant has been given following a previous grant of Yen 2.2 billion provided by the Government of Japan under its Grant Aid scheme in May 1996 for the complete re-construction of the Peradeniya Dental Faculty and hospital which now ranks as one of the best facilities in South Asia. In addition, the Government of Japan through JICA is providing Project Type Technical Cooperation (PTTC) to the Dental Faculty of Peradeniya University. PTTC is a five-year project which started in 1998 to supply equipment, dispatch experts from Japan and provide training for local staff in Japan.

Over the past decades, the Government of Japan, as the largest donor to Sri Lanka has extended its hand of assistance to improve fundamental facilities for healthcare and overall development in Sri Lanka, by annually providing over JY 30 billion (approximately Rs. 21.6 billion) as concessionary loans and about JY 6 billion (approximately Rs. 4.3 billion) in grant aid and technical cooperation. The Government of Japan fervently hopes that this project will make a further effective contribution towards improving the standard of health in Sri Lanka.

Seiichiro Otsuka, Ambassador of Japan and Prof. Kapila Goonesekera, Vice Chancellor of the University of Peradeniya signed the grant contract at the Embassy of Japana on January 08, 2002. Dr. (Ms) Noriko Iseki, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan, Dr. Toru Nagao, JICA Project Leader for PTTC to the Dental Faculty of Peradeniya University, Prof. A.N.I. Ekanayaka of the Faculty of Dental Science and Prof. D.B. Nugegoda of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Peradeniya, Dr. P.A.D. Tissera, Director of the Health Education Bureau and Mr. Kobayashi, JICA Sri Lanka office were also present on this occasion.

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