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‘Health services will be digitalised to widen outreach’

Daily News 2019-08-19 03:05:51

Although we boast of a healthcare system that extends free healthcare to all citizens, if patients who come to hospital do not receive the expected quality of medical service, they will have to bear additional costs for their healthcare and the massive expenditure allocated for the health sector would be in vain, Health Services Director General Anil Jasinghe said.

A competent health care mission means a health services structure with minimum deficiencies, he said.

“We hope to reach our rural population more effectively in future. Our health service should be widened and digitalised for which we have already formulated a plan,” he said.

He was speaking at the ceremony to felicitate medical staff of the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital who were adjudged to have the best competencies and skills, on Saturday. The event is organised annually.

Despite the fact that our free health policy comprises a system of grass-roots level service, there are some structural impediments in providing medical services to the community at the village level.

Sometimes, patients are needlessly transferred to various other hospitals which has a negative effect on them and deprives them of the anticipated health service or treatment, he said.

“Sri Lanka’s model of primary health care is available free through the government healthcare system islandwide. Preserving primary healthcare means to ensure it is freely obtainable through a government health system with islandwide availability which is a sound basis for providing universal health coverage. It is misunderstood that universal health coverage is merely the construction of new buildings. We have to give priority to the upgrading of human resources and to ensure a public-friendly health service,” the Health Services Director said.

We have to expand the qualitative system of healthcare services. Our regional and district hospitals have the potential of rendering expanded health services.

However, they do much less than their potential. In the United Kingdom, a hospital of the above category renders a multitude of health services,” he said.

“Owing to democratic practices in our country, we do not have restrictions in providing health services. However, in developed countries, there are no Out Patients’ Departments (OPDs) in teaching and chief hospitals. Considering the country’s needs, we do not need to shut down OPDs in our main hospitals,” he said.

“One such move is to introduce some sort of health package for these small-scale health institutions.

Under this system, the people will be educated about the additional medical care services that they can obtain from the respective hospitals. On implementation of such new projects, certain barriers in our health services could be unlocked.”