October 3, 2018
Sri Lanka: achieving so much with so little
Sri Lanka is considered a "fast track” country in the prevention and control of NCDs.
By Dr Mahen Wijesuriya, Dr Chamari Warnapura
We have achieved “so much with so little’’ in spite of the 30-year civil war which ended in 2009. We have a 92% literacy rate and life expectancy of 75 years. This is not by accident but due to welfare oriented political commitment to provide free health and education as part of the Universal Health Coverage [UHC] adopted by successive governments. We have achieved more than 70% of UHC which started way back in 1931. In 2017, this was augmented further by a reduction of cost of essential medicines in private sector by more than 50% which increased affordability and further accelerated our march towards achieving UHC by 2030. Sri Lanka is classified as a ‘’fast track” country and enjoys One WHO integrated technical support due to the progressive outlook of the Government with respect to prevent and control noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).
In our quest to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030 we have a National multi-sectoral action plan and a National NCD Council.
Dr Mahen Wijesuriya is Honorary Secretary of the Diabetes Association of Sri Lanka, and Honorary Director of the National Diabetes Centre, Director – NCD Alliance.
Dr Chamari Warnapura is Deputy Medical Director of the National Diabetes Centre, Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka.