Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Eradication of terrorism allows room to achieve MDGs in Sri Lanka's health sector

Mar 16, Colombo: Sri Lankan government's ongoing drive to eradicate terrorism from the country provides greater space and a more positive environment to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the health sector by the 2015 target date set by the UN.

Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama expressed this view when he delivered the welcome address today in Colombo at the inauguration of the ECOSOC Regional Ministerial Meeting on Financing Strategies for Healthcare.

Foreign Minister Bogollagama said Sri Lanka is all set to achieve the MDGs in the health sector well before the 2015 target date due to the country's superior achievements in the health and education sectors that have empowered the people.

"The Government's efforts to counter terrorism should be viewed in the context of providing greater space and opportunity for further empowerment of the people in the parts of the country which have been denied democracy due to terrorism," he said.

Investment that the Government has made in the people by providing free healthcare and education, as well as support for agriculture and industry, will pay rich dividends and enable the achievement of the MDGs, which are reflected in President Mahinda Rajapaksa's vision of empowering the people and ensuring the security of the nation, Foreign Minister added.

Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka delivering the keynote address at the inaugural meeting highlighted that the financing healthcare in Sri Lanka is provided for in the national budget and although Sri Lanka is not a rich country, the State has always provided free healthcare to all citizens from birth to death.

The ECOSOC meeting is jointly organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition under the framework of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

The international partners supporting this Meeting are the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP).