Delivering the keynote speech at the Global Health Diplomacy Programme on Monday 14th October, Foreign Secretary Ambassador Ravinatha P. Aryasinha stated that Sri Lanka excelled in performance in the healthcare sector as the country achieved quality free healthcare by 1951; long before Goal 3 of the SDG agenda 2030 was introduced.
He mentioned that Sri Lanka has much to offer to the world considering its successes in achieving near universal healthcare; national child immunization process to deadly diseases through vaccination; tobacco and alcohol control; prevention of Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) and mental health conditions; Internationally acclaimed resilient emergency health response. It is well positioned to lend valuable insight and lessons learnt to other countries in the health sector
Furthermore, he declared that Sri Lanka has provided the world with accomplished individuals such as Dr. Herat Gunaratne in the 1970’s, Dr. Mendis in the 2000’s, Dr. Palitha Abeykoon and Dr. Vajira Dissanayake to mention a few, to the betterment of international public health. Moreover, that the engagement of Sri Lanka in multilateral fora has brought a dynamic relationship with the WHO.
Speaking at the occasion, the Country Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr. Razia Narayan Pendse said that the Global Health Diplomacy Programme has been planned for nearly two years. Each participant of the programme has a significant role to play. She emphasized that Sri Lanka sets an example for other countries, as the country has eradicated many communicable diseases with a high impact and a low cost. Admitting that disease such as small pox has been eliminated, with polio and measles on the verge of eradication, the global community has more challenges to overcome; as new infectious diseases and epidemics are constantly emerging.
The four day programme from 14th to 17th October 2019 was launched by the BIDTI in collaboration with the WHO and the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine to enhance capacity building of health officials in order to prepare them to face challenges in multilateral fora.