All preparations have been finalized to celebrate World Health Day today with a 12-hour mega event from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Independence Arcade, Colombo 7. Under the theme ‘Health for All: Everyone, Everywhere’, the tone for the celebrations organised jointly by the Health Ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) will be [...]

News launch ‘Essential Services Package’ to mark World Health Day today

Mega event to include yoga session, health & wellbeing festival and more

SLMA President Dr. Anula Wijesundere exchanges the Memorandum of Understanding with PSSP Director Dr. Jayasundara Bandara. Dr. Wijesundere is flanked by SLMA’s Immediate Past President Dr. Ruvaiz Haniffa (to her right) and CGPSL President Dr. Jayantha Jayatissa (to her left)

All preparations have been finalized to celebrate World Health Day today with a 12-hour mega event from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Independence Arcade, Colombo 7.

Under the theme ‘Health for All: Everyone, Everywhere’, the tone for the celebrations organised jointly by the Health Ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) will be set by a yoga and physical activity session with the highlight being the portrayal of voices from the field on what they see as ‘Health for all’.

The programme will also include a Health & Wellbeing Festival, an Art Exhibition and a Musical Evening.

The government is also scheduled to launch its ‘Essential Services Package’ (ESP) today.

ESP is defined as detailed lists of interventions or services by level of care and endorsed by the government at the national level. These interventions should be available to all, be funded by the government and be free of charge (or close) to the users at the service delivery point. Interventions not included in the package should be made available, but it cannot be guaranteed that they will cover the whole population, it is learnt.

With ESP defining the services (or ‘depth’) dimension of the Universal Health Coverage cube, it is “the set of preventive, promotive and curative health services from public or private providers, including the relevant medical goods, drugs and technologies, which every person should have access to, regardless of their ability to pay for them”. The ESP usually includes: Support services – laboratory, X-ray, pharmacy; level (delivery sites) at which services should be provided; human resources involved in its delivery; and essential medicines and other supplies.

ESP is to be delivered by a health system composed at least of Primary Health Care facilities and delivery sites and their referral hospital.

In Sri Lanka, the ESP structure has four components, one cross-cutting intervention and five main delivery sites.Following the analysis of the country’s Burden of Disease, the ESP’s four main components are:

  •  Services linked to the life course, which include interventions on reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health, as well as elderly care.
  •  Communicable Diseaseswith special focus on control and prevention of all communicable diseases with possible impact on public health.
  •  Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) which include interventions on the most common NCDs – cardiovascular risk factors and diseases, diabetes and chronic pulmonary diseases, selected cancers and mental health.
  •  Services and platformswhich are not linked to specific conditions and include emergency care, outpatient and inpatient care, surgery and trauma, dental care, rehabilitation and palliative care. This component also includes support services: Laboratory, radiology and other diagnostic means and pharmacy.

The ESP is to be delivered at five main delivery sites: Users/patients home and community; Medical Offices of Health (MOH) and field clinics; Primary Medical Care Units, Divisional Hospitals and Apex Hospitals (base hospitals or other facilities able to provide the complete range of secondary care services).

The World Bank, meanwhile, recently approved a Primary Health Care System Strengthening Project (PSSP) amounting to US$200 million for Sri Lanka.

The PSSP has three components:  

  •  Primary Health Care (PHC) system reorganization and strengthening strategies through routine health sector planning and budget execution systems;
  •  Project implementation support and innovation grant through direct project financing to the Health Ministry; and
  •  A contingent emergency response component as a way of reallocating or channelling funds in case of an emergency.

The World Bank financing is to be supplemented by the government of Sri Lanka.

The first phase of the PHC system reorganization and strengthening strategies is to build capacity among Medical Officers to improve their competencies in the delivery of Primary Curative Care based on the principles of Family Medicine/General Practice, it is learnt and the Health Ministry and the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) will partner with the College of General Practitioners of Sri Lanka (CGPSL) to train 100 Medical Officers in the Kalutara District using Distance Education through the Digital Academy set up by the ministry. All logistical and academic plans including course content developed by a team of doctors from the SLMA and CGPSL were launched at the end of last month.

The documents pertaining to this Pilot Project to be initiated in the Kalutara District were signed by the SLMA, the World Bank and the CGPSL earlier at a simple ceremony in the Council Room of the SLMA.

The PSSP also contributes towards UHC by ensuring that all people have access to needed promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services, of sufficient quality, to be effective, while also ensuring that people do not suffer financial hardship when paying for these services by increasing the utilization and quality of necessary Primary Health Care services as well as ensuring the availability of essential medication (an Essential and/or Minimal Service Care Package), a media release said.

On the road to UHC: The role of WHO, SLMA and Health Ministry

The WHO in its January Newsletter of the Joint Working Committee on UHC highlighted ‘Stories from the Field – Primary Health Care in Sri Lanka: On the road to UHC’ focusing on the contribution of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) towards this cause.

“Health is a human right because people don’t seek healthcare when they want it; they seek it because they need it. It’s a need and it’s our job as healthcare providers to provide them quality care,” the then SLMA President Dr. Ruvaiz Haniffa has said.

The SLMA which represents all state and private medical practitioners has been working with the Health Ministry and the WHO to bring about much-needed change in the Sri Lankan health system to focus on Primary Health Care (PHC) to achieve UHC.

The Health Ministry has identified WHO as the technical lead adviser in the PHC reorganization and WHO has rallied support by engaging various stakeholders across sectors. A key player is the SLMA and starting in 2018, it has partnered with the WHO to take forward the UHC agenda by organizing a series of activities from policy advocacy to raising awareness of health providers in the field.

“The SLMA, the Health Ministry and the WHO share the same vision of a need to shift from disease-oriented care to people-centred care. Change cannot happen overnight. We first wanted people to understand why we need to change and we needed to engage policymakers — the people with the power to decide on change,” Dr. Haniffa has stated, explaining that the WHO supported the SLMA to host a parliamentary session with over 65 parliamentarians to sensitize them to the concept of UHC. The highlight of this event was the signing of the UHC pledge by parliamentarians, representing all political parties in the country.

“The WHO has expanded our horizon by providing us a global platform to learn from others and build on what we have. They are a resource we simply can’t do without,” he has added.


Share This Post


Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.