SL achieves positive health indicators - Dr. Srinath Chandrasekera | Sunday Observer

SL achieves positive health indicators - Dr. Srinath Chandrasekera

There needs to be a seamless integration between the private and the public sector when it comes to providing healthcare facilities to the public. It is important to maintain a viable and sustainable free healthcare system as Sri Lanka has achieved positive health indicators compared to other developing countries, Professor in Surgery and Consultant Urological Surgeon Dr. Srinath Chandrasekera said at a recent seminar on health sector challenges held in Colombo.

The ability for the medical professionals to work both in the public and the private sector has retained them in the local system and in the country. However, their service should not be pure profit oriented, he said.

There are stable investment opportunities in the country’s healthcare system and in some instances the facilities could be shared both by the public and the private sector. This is because these facilities are not been used during late evenings and could be put to better use by the private sector.

“There is a significant expenditure budget from the households for private sector healthcare facilities. Though our expenditure on healthcare has gone up 5 times of the GDP percentage, the household contribution also has been increased simultaneously. There is a need to enhance insurance opportunities to cover the medical expenses and enable the public to seek private healthcare facilities,” he said.

The country has not provided enough facilities or not catered to the middle income class when it comes to obtaining healthcare facilities and this needs to be corrected. There is a need to make available all forms of healthcare facilities in the country as it is important to ensure availability, reliability and affordability of the facilities.

“We need equitable care and a sustainable and development oriented approach in building the healthcare system further.

As there is no development oriented financial facilities in the sector there is a necessity to provide more efficient patient care to the public.

The importance of regulating the private healthcare facilities is timely and the cost and quality factors also need consideration,” he said.

Stressing the importance of regulating the private healthcare facilities, Porf. Asitha de Silva said that though the sector needs to earn a profit, ‘profiteering’ is bad.

With a fast growing aging population, managing certain NCDs is important. The medicines are costly due to the high mark-up that is added to the cost.

Therefore, the regulator needs to look into this problem and address the issue to provide relief to the poorer patients, he said. There is an opportunity to offer subsidised operation facilities after 4 p.m. at the government hospitals for the benefit of the middle class patients who could afford it, he said.