President Ranil Wickremesinghe has directed financial assistance from the President’s Fund for liver transplant surgeries for young children at the Ragama Teaching Hospital and cochlear implant surgeries at the Sri Jayawardenepura General Hospital. 

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), this decision aims to alleviate the financial burden on impoverished parents and support the welfare of children, recognizing their importance for the nation’s future.

Acknowledging the substantial costs associated with pre and post-tests and treatments for liver transplant surgeries in children under 16 years old at the North Colombo General Hospital (Ragama Teaching Hospital), President Wickremesinghe has approved Rs. 1 million from the President’s Fund for each liver transplant surgery meeting common conditions. 

This financial support will be effective from January 1, 2024, aiming to ease the financial strain on families undergoing these critical medical procedures, the PMD stated.

President Wickremesinghe’s directive underscores the government’s commitment to providing essential medical care for children in need, particularly those facing life-threatening conditions requiring specialized surgeries. 

By utilizing the President’s Fund to support these surgeries, the government aims to ensure that financial constraints do not hinder access to vital healthcare services for young patients, thereby safeguarding their health and future well-being.

Medical tests have revealed that over 200 children in Sri Lanka require cochlear implant surgery, a procedure crucial for their auditory development. While in developed countries, such surgeries are promptly performed at birth upon identification of the need, in Sri Lanka, not all eligible children undergo this procedure. 

It’s emphasized by medical experts that such operations should ideally occur within two years from birth for optimal brain development, yet the cost is a significant barrier, estimated at over Rs 5 million. Currently, this surgery is limited to a few government hospitals, leading to waiting lists for affected children.

The cochlear implant surgery is conducted at the Sri Jayawardenepura General Hospital, with the implant device valued at approximately Rs. 3-4 million. Although the Ministry of Health provides the device to the hospital free of charge, patients are required to cover the surgery costs, which amount to Rs. 600,000. 

This financial burden underscores the need for additional support mechanisms to ensure access to essential healthcare services for children in need of cochlear implant surgery. 

To address this issue, the Ministry of Health has sourced the necessary cochlear implant devices, while the surgery costs, amounting to Rs. 600,000, will be covered by the President’s Fund. Consequently, the government will fully shoulder the expenses associated with these surgeries, which are conducted at the Sri Jayawardenepura General Hospital.

The decision to forgo cochlear implant surgeries for these children not only impacts society negatively but also strains the healthcare system. Despite the considerable financial investment required for such procedures, it must be recognized that providing financial aid from the President’s Fund for these surgeries on young children is an investment in the nation’s future. 

Consequently, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has authorized financial assistance from the President’s Fund, effective January 1, 2024, with a maximum amount of Rs. 600,000 for cochlear transplant surgeries conducted on children at the Sri Jayawardenepura General Hospital.