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DateLine Friday, 16 January 2009

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Government Gazette

Kudos for our healthcare

Sri Lanka has once again won international acclaim for the quality of her healthcare system with the country's achievement in the area of maternity care and sharp decline in infant mortality rates coming for high praise from the UNICEF.

As reported in our main story today Sri Lanka has been cited as a model for other developing nations in the scaling up services for infants and mothers and in slashing maternal and neo natal mortality rates.

UNICEF's latest 'State of the World's Children' report has attributed this not only to the quality of our health care system but the overall development of structures that has served to raise awareness coupled with enhanced welfare measures. Sri Lanka has today scaled new heights in a host of social indices and our health care system is pre-eminent among these. This can be understood in the context that our Health budget is only second to the Defence Budget.

Today the country's Health sector has reached out into various fields uncharted in the past. One of them is the special attention paid to the nutritional needs of the pregnant women and the new born with several follow up measures to ensure their healthy progress.

Enlightenment through Education has also played a significant part to ensure safe births and the healthy post natal passage. The Mahinda Chintana has a lengthy chapter on child and maternity care which is being implemented in earnest.

All this is part and parcel of a health care service that is among the best in Asia and no longer do we see the mad rush among the affluent to seek treatment in oversees hospitals. As already mentioned we are there at the top with the rest. The quality of our Health service is such it today covers all aspects from preventive health to post natal care and follow up measures which were available only to the rich in the past. This has brought positive results as seen from the latest plaudits received in the area of maternity and child birth from the international health watchdog body.

The UNICEF report states "Sri Lanka is a strong example of how the health and survival of mothers and their new born are linked and how many of the interventions that save new mothers' lives also benefit their infants. Since 1990 the under-five mortality rate has dropped from 32 per 1000 live births to 13 per 1000 in 2000.

While acknowledging there are yet challenges such as under-nutrition and regional disparities in terms of maternal care the UNICEF representative in Sri Lanka says the overall picture of maternal and neo natal health is one of remarkable progress over the past decades.

Sri Lanka certainly can take pride in this achievement particularly to be held up as a model to the developing world. The country no doubt has come a long way from the days where ignorance more than anything contributed to high maternity deaths and infant mortality. Our Health care system has improved to such a degree this phenomenon is now arrested and a wider section provided the know how and advice to cope with situations.

The rise in awareness coupled with the various welfare schemes and assistance provided in the sphere of maternity care too have helped a great measure.

Like the UNICEF report notes "medical intervention alone was not the key." Measures to empower women through education, employment and social engagement also has had a positive impact on the mother and children".

Boost for tea smallholders

The Rs.2,250 million subsidy granted to tea smallholders on a bag of fertilizer it is hoped would help revive the depressed tea industry reeling from a slump in prices. The Government should be commended for taking steps to pull the industry back on it's feet with various concessions already in place.This is more so since this is an industry which was once the mainstay of the country's economy until it was pipped to the post by garments and foreign remittances. As such every effort should be taken to see it reach it's pre-eminent position. The subsidy is bound to pay dividends in the long run.

Sri Lanka in most parts of the world is still known for it's tea which was at one time it's trade mark. Saying that there is a need to go for value added if our tea is to go places in the international market and future subsidies offered by the Government should be done with this object in view. We say this because most countries which were far behind us in the international market have today overtaken us in marketing their tea due to this feature.

The only exit from Gaza is death

Gresham’s Law briefly states “Bad money drives out good money.” A corollary has: “Bad news analysis drives out good news analysis.” Reports and dialogues on the events in Gaza give the impression that a mighty Hamas has wantonly attacked Israel,

Full Story

Universities, Doctors and Society - Part II:

Universities and student activism

Today I feel sad to see the high pig mesh railing outside the Senate House premises of the University of Colombo, and the fortification of the UGC, and worry that this physical barrier means less dialogue with the inflow and outflow of ideas,

Full Story

Defence column

Final thrust to totally annihilate LTTE

The Vanni liberation operation reached its most decisive and sensitive phase with troops liberating the entire Jaffna peninsula and the Tiger strongholds Kilinochchi, Paranthan and Elephant Pass.

Full Story



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