Injection of $200m will boost Sri Lankan healthcare

29 Jan 19

The World Bank will lend Sri Lanka $200m to boost healthcare and tackle growing causes of death linked to modern lifestyles such as cancer and heart disease.

The project will increase the quality of care in Sri Lanka and focus on detecting and managing these conditions, which are putting pressure on health services.

The country has seen a decline in polio, malaria and filariasis in the past two decades but lifestyle changes mean non-communicable diseases now cause 87% of deaths.

Idah Pswarayi-Riddhough, World Bank country director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, said: “People are at the centre of this project, which aims to bring better healthcare services, particularly to the poor and the vulnerable.

“It is designed to detect symptoms and provide remedial measures, including the promotion of healthy lifestyles to better manage the burden of non-communicable diseases at the community and primary healthcare levels.”

Sri Lanka’s has already improved its health system significantly, ensuring universal access to maternal and child healthcare services.

The bank said out of pocket spending on health accounts for 38% of the total health expenditure, which is a struggle for the poor.

It added that the country’s aging population, with the population over 60 expected to double in the next 25 years, poses a challenge for the health system.

“The project should serve as a catalyst for revitalizing Sri Lanka’s primary healthcare system and preparing the country to address the future health sector challenges,” said Kanako Yamashita-Allen, senior health specialist and team lead on the project.

The ministry of health will implement the project, with support from World Bank specialists and funds.

In October the Asian Development Bank announced a $50m package to support the healthcare system in Sri Lanka.

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