Minister announces 91% measles vaccination success and unveils 2024 health priorities
January 23, Colombo (LNW): Health Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana revealed a remarkable 91 per cent measles vaccination rate among children, showcasing the nation’s commitment to proactive healthcare amidst a recent resurgence of the disease post-eradication.
Addressing the media on Monday (22), Dr. Pathirana outlined key health priorities for 2024, with a central focus on disease prevention, strengthening primary healthcare services, and enhancing efficiency for patients’ prompt access to essential resources.
Despite this success, the Minister acknowledged the persistent challenge of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Over 20 per cent of Sri Lankans grapple with diabetes, and the country holds the unfortunate distinction of having the highest prevalence of high blood pressure among over-35s in South Asia.
Addressing these health concerns and their associated complications such as heart disease and stroke is vital for Sri Lanka’s long-term well-being, he emphasised.
In response to an aging population, Sri Lanka is proactively combating the rise of NCDs like memory impairment, eye diseases, and bone diseases through dedicated programmes.
Dengue fever, another pressing issue, is receiving special attention, with an urgent call for increased public collaboration alongside support from health and security departments.
Pathirana went on saying that combatting the rapid spread of dengue fever is a top priority, and asserted that the government is calling for all hands on deck.
While the government is working closely with health and security departments, public cooperation is crucial to curbing this outbreak, he added.
Acknowledging the existing drug shortage, the government is actively importing essential medicines, witnessing gradual reductions in shortages, he stressed.
The Minister also highlighted ongoing efforts to develop an online platform, in collaboration with the IT Departments of Moratuwa and Colombo Universities, aiming to bring transparency and efficiency to the entire medical supply and procurement process.