Sri Lanka President pledges a new chapter for the field of Military Medicine

Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe says a separate unit will be established to send military personnel overseas to assist in times of health crises.

The President made this observation while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the 6th annual academic sessions of the Sri Lanka College of Military Medicine (SLCOMM) under the theme of ‘Resilience of Military Medicine In the Times of Crisis’ in Katunayake.

The President said plans are afoot to send a group of military personnel to Turkey to assist at this time of health disaster following the recent earthquake.

He also said that the government had sent a group of military personnel to Nepal. They were sent at the times of natural disasters. ‘But I’m looking at the possibility of using our military medical personnel to send abroad when the people are faced with health disasters’ the President said. ‘Health disasters take place more often than natural disasters and I would discuss this matter with the military to establish a unit in this regard. So that’s a new chapter for military medicine.’

The President also said that under the Indian credit line the government is to get more medicine to address the shortage of medicine during this crisis situation. He added that by now, the government is working on making more foreign exchange available to the medical sector.

He said further that discussions are in progress with the Ministry of Health to upgrade the Medical Research Institute (MRI) into one of the best medical research laboratories in the region. He said it is discussed to introduce a health insurance scheme where the government can assist those in the lower income category, when they need to get the service of growing private hospitals.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the government is seeking the possibility of introducing paying wards in Government hospitals and to introduce non-paying wards in private hospitals where the government is taking the tab for the treatments made in those non-paying wards.

He said further the medical corps of the Army, Navy and Air Force are really experienced in military medicine in a military crisis situation that is during the war in the North and East. While facing the war they also rendered a service during the Tsunami Catastrophe in 2004, during floods and during COVID 19. Hence they have the experience in both military and civilian fields.

He said further that he appreciates the commendable service that has been rendered in the field of Military Medicine in the country. He added that the SLCMM which commenced in 2016 has now blossomed to a full medical organisation. He also commended the contribution of the past presidents and the present president of the SLCMM made in recognition of military medicine in the country.

Guest of Honour Prof. Selvanayagam Nirthanan, Sri Lanka College of Military Medicine President Air Commodore Mrs. Niluka Abeysekara, secretary of Sri Lanka College of Military Medicine Wing Commander Ms. Himali Mendis also addressed at the occasion.

Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of the Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayake, Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, Air Vice Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa representing Commander of the Air Force, Vice Chancellor of the General Sir John Kotalawala Defence University Major General Milinda Peiris also graced the occasion.