President Ranil Wickremesinghe says it is imperative for Sri Lanka to excel in healthcare in order to boost medical tourism.

Addressing an event on Friday (Sept. 09), the Head of State also emphasized the necessity of restructuring healthcare policies and increasing the number of medical colleges to address the shortage of doctors, according to the President’s Media Division (PMD).

President Wickremesinghe attended the centenary commemoration of Joseph Fraser Ninewells Hospitals and paid tribute to the legacy of Joseph Fraser, a Scottish planter who played a pivotal role in Sri Lanka’s tea industry during its formative years.

He emphasized the necessity of restructuring healthcare policies and increasing the number of medical colleges to address the shortage of doctors.

The President further acknowledged the challenges posed by the shortage of doctors and stressed the importance of developing an effective solution.

He also announced plans to establish the first non-government medical faculty in Sri Lanka, a significant step towards expanding medical education opportunities.

Furthermore, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the allocation of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) to the University of Moratuwa, aiming to create more medical education institutions. He expressed hope that the government would support the establishment of additional medical colleges and universities, ensuring that Sri Lanka can produce more doctors.

The President recognized that while some doctors may choose to practice abroad, increasing the overall number of medical professionals in the country is essential. He affirmed that expanding medical education is a critical strategy to meet this challenge. 
In an inspiring declaration, President Wickremesinghe underscored Sri Lanka’s transition from an aid-receiving country to a donor nation, showcasing the country’s progress and commitment to addressing its healthcare needs independently.

“Indeed, I have resolved that Sri Lanka shall not merely remain a beneficiary of aid; instead, we aspire to evolve into a nation that contributes aid to others. We have extended our support by sending our doctors to the United Kingdom, where these dedicated expertise plays an indispensable role in sustaining their healthcare system. Collaboratively, with Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India, we exert significant influence over the healthcare infrastructure in the UK, a testament to the high calibre of our professionals.

I find myself in a situation similar to that of a doctor in recent times. I am tasked with the responsibility of tending to a patient who is teetering on the brink of critical condition, and I am steadfastly committed to nursing them back to health. If circumstances permitted, I would readily entrust this patient to the care of Joseph Fraser. Regrettably, circumstances necessitate that I retain oversight of the patient’s care within the treasury”.

Furthermore, we have diligently devised a novel approach that fosters synergy between the private and public sectors, ensuring that they can effectively collaborate for the greater good.

The President’s remarks underscore the government’s determination to address the healthcare workforce shortage in Sri Lanka, thereby ensuring the nation’s healthcare system remains robust and accessible.

The President also shared insights into efforts to create a hybrid healthcare system that combines public and private healthcare services while exploring the potential of health insurance.

President Wickremesinghe concluded by highlighting the importance of Sri Lanka’s private sector in propelling the country’s growth and development. He invoked Joseph Fraser’s legacy as an example of an individual who, through perseverance and dedication, made a significant contribution to Sri Lanka’s progress.