Published on: January 22, 2024

Measles vaccine already administered to 91% of children –  Minister of Industries and Health Dr. Ramesh Pathirana 

Health Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana announced a staggering 91% vaccination rate for measles among children, a crucial step in combating a recent resurgence of the disease after eradication. This achievement demonstrates the country’s dedication to proactive healthcare.

Speaking at a media briefing, Dr. Pathirana outlined further health priorities for 2024. Disease prevention takes centre stage, with plans to bolster primary healthcare services and improve efficiency for patients. Prompt access to essential resources is also a key focus.

However, tackling non-communicable diseases (NCDs) remains a major challenge. Over 20% of Sri Lankans battle diabetes, and the country holds the dubious distinction of having the highest prevalence of high blood pressure among over-35s in South Asia. Addressing these concerns and their associated complications like heart disease and stroke is critical for Sri Lanka’s long-term health.

Amidst a rapidly aging population, Sri Lanka is proactively addressing the rise of non-communicable diseases like memory impairment, eye diseases, and bone diseases through dedicated programs. Dengue fever, another pressing concern, is being tackled with special efforts, seeking increased public collaboration alongside support from health and security departments.

“Combatting the rapid spread of dengue fever is a top priority, and we’re calling for all hands on deck! While we’re working closely with health and security departments, public cooperation is crucial to curbing this outbreak”, the minister said.

“Following a concerning rise in measles cases in Sri Lanka, we launched targeted programs and successfully vaccinated 91% of children in a matter of weeks, effectively shielding them from this preventable disease.”

Recognizing the existing drug shortage, the government is actively importing essential medicines, with shortages gradually decreasing. “Imagine a medical supply system free from opaqueness; we’re working with the IT Departments of Moratuwa and Colombo Universities to develop an online platform that will bring transparency and efficiency to the entire supply and procurement process,” Minister Pathirana added.

Mission

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