Addressing an event organized at the Colombo Foundation on the occasion of the International Nurses Day, Mr. Sagala Ratnayake, the President’s Senior Adviser on National Security and Chief of the Presidential Staff, stated that a program to generate income for Sri Lanka through ‘Health Tourism’ is expected to be prepared.
He emphasized that in a country like Sri Lanka, which boasts a beautiful environment, the ‘Health Tourism’ program is highly advantageous, and that the nursing centre should devise new programs to help generate revenue for the country.
Alongside this, Mr. Sagala Ratnayake also took part in the awarding of excellence awards to nurses and nursing officers.
Expressing his views at this event Mr. Ratnayake further said,
Thank you for inviting me to celebrate International Nurses Day. It’s a significant day worldwide, and I’m delighted to know that our country is also taking part in the celebrations. I have the utmost respect and appreciation for the remarkable work done by nursing staff. Their dedication and service are particularly felt during times of crisis.
During the Covid epidemic, I witnessed firsthand the incredible service provided by nursing staff. Despite the risks involved, they never once thought of giving up or neglecting their duties. Their noble service helped save countless lives and played a significant role in our country’s successful fight against the epidemic. Thanks to their immense sacrifice, Sri Lanka was able to overcome the crisis faster than many other countries in the world.
I would also like to take this opportunity to reflect on the economic situation in our country. When Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe assumed office as President, the country was facing severe economic risks. We were struggling with shortages of foreign exchange, fuel, gas, and medicine, and we didn’t even have the funds to carry out essential tasks. We all know the dire situation in countries like Sudan and Lebanon. However, today, our country has made significant progress in terms of economic stability, and we have been able to reduce the basic problems faced by our citizens.
Looking to the future, I believe we should be creative and explore new avenues for economic growth. With our country’s beautiful environment, we can develop health tourism as a potential source of income. Let us work together as a nation to build a brighter future for all.
As a Sri Lankan, I am aware that many Sri Lankans living in England and Australia come back to our country to receive medical treatment. However, we should not view this as a negative thing. Instead, we can turn this into a business opportunity and develop this aspect of our healthcare system further.
There is also a significant demand for Sri Lankan nurses in foreign countries. However, some are facing difficulties due to language barriers and a lack of proficiency in English. As a nation, we need to solve these issues and capitalize on this demand. We must strive to create a better country for our young people, and we must take steps towards achieving that goal.
Fortunately, inflation in our country is currently decreasing, and prices for goods are becoming more reasonable for consumers. If we had not received support from the International Monetary Fund, the situation could have been much worse. It’s essential that policies remain consistent, regardless of changes in government. The government is committed to providing adequate income for all Sri Lankans, and we respect and appreciate the service of each and every citizen to our country.
Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe –
I firmly believe that nursing is a noble profession that has helped millions of people worldwide. When one cares for the sick, it is akin to caring for the Buddha. We do not need any further definitions of nursing beyond this.
However, there is hypocrisy among the educated and intelligent people in our country regarding nursing. The duration of the nursing degree has been reduced to three years. If this is done correctly, there should be hundreds of thousands of nursing graduates in the country. Despite any pressure, we will not halt the plan to establish a Nursing University. Our goal is to provide a globally recognized nursing degree through this university that will be integrated into our university system. I am optimistic that this move will boost the recognition and reputation of nursing as a profession.
Moreover, I am grateful for the service of nurses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Through your selfless service, we were able to save millions of lives in our country. Your dedication to your profession is commendable, and it has helped us realize the value of nursing as an essential service.
Director General of Trade Unions to the President Saman Ratnapriya –
As someone who values the nursing profession, I am aware that there are both solved and unsolved issues that need attention. I am pleased to share that the Cabinet has approved the establishment of the National Nursing University, which is an important service for our country. Building a nursing faculty has been necessary throughout history, and we remember the political support given by former Health Minister Mr. Rajitha Senaratne with respect.
Although the degree was reduced from four years to three years, many of us fought for the restoration of the four-year nursing degree. The Faculty of Nursing provides graduation, but the country has not been able to produce enough staff to meet the demand for nurses.
I am aware that 13,000 nurses have not been promoted yet. However, thanks to the intervention of the President, measures have been taken to promote these deserving individuals. Despite the economic crisis, the government has approved the recruitment of 6,500 people for the nursing service. We have emphasized that nurses should be recruited, even if other government employees cannot be hired. Failure to recruit enough staff can affect health centers and the entire country, so we have taken steps to provide both promotions and employment opportunities for nurses.
Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Promotion Manusha Nanayakkara, former Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne, Member of Parliament Wajira Abeywardene, Member of Parliament Rajitha Senaratne, Senior Lecturer Pramitha Madhavi, Secretary of the Public Health Organization Nurse Bernie Silva and others including nurses, officials and trade union representatives were present on this occasion.