Health sector brain drain worries Minister Sirisena



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By Don Asoka Wijewardena   


A CT scanner donated by JICA was installed at the Hambantota General Hospital recently. Minister Maithripala Sirisena inspecting the machine while Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka and Director General of Health Services Dr. Palitha Maheepala look on.


Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday lamented that even though as much as Rs. 157 billion had been allocated to his ministry for 2014 it found it difficult to retain doctors, paramedics and nurses. Each year when annual transfer lists were about to be filled, the ministry found that many medical and nursing personnel had already left the country for greener pastures, the minister said.


From the allocated funds Rs.18 billion had been set aside for the construction of modern hospital complexes, yet there was also a severe dearth of medical specialists, he said.


 The minister made this observation while speaking at a function to receive a CT scanner donated to the Hambantota General Hospital at a cost of Rs. 770 million by Japan International Cooperation Agency recently.


Minister Sirisena pointed out that at present there was a big problem in the nursing profession due to the severe shortage of qualified personnel. When the applications were called to recruit nursing trainees, most applicants did not respond on time. The Ministry had decided to place newspaper advertisements calling for application. Even existing vacancies for family health workers and PHIs had not been filled, the minister said, adding that trade unions were free to see him and discuss job-related issues at any time. But some trade unions without discussing the issues with him were trying to win their demands by holding the poor patients to ransom.


The SLFP-led UPFA would never deprive the working class of its rights, the minister said. "The most valuable asset of any organisation is human resource," Minister Sirisena said.


 During a recent visit by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Tokyo the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had donated Rs.770 million worth of medical equipment to Sri Lanka, including the state-of-the-art CT scanner, Minister Sirisena said.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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