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“Budget proposals have measures to tackle corruption in medicine procurement”

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State Minister for Health Dr. Seetha Arambepola stated that a key focus of the 2024 Budget proposals is the introduction of special guidelines for the procurement of medicines and the establishment of a dedicated agency.

This strategic move aims to prevent corruption, irregularities and other questionable incidents during the importation of medicines, she said.During a press conference at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) yesterday (01), under the theme ‘Collective path to a stable country’, Dr. Arambepola emphasized the need for changes in human resources within the Health Ministry and adjustments to rules and regulations to address challenges in the Health sector.

The State Minister commented, “At present, we are concentrating on providing quality medicines to patients, particularly for the hospital system and clinical work in the country. Despite setbacks in construction and maintenance due to the current economic situation, the Government aims to overcome them and successfully execute these projects in the coming year with financial contributions from local and international sources.

“Additionally, the Ministry of Health is undergoing significant structural adjustments. Notable modifications were implemented last week, and further changes are slated for the upcoming week.

“Anticipated alterations encompass adjustments in human resources, rules, and regulations. The procurement process has also undergone substantial revisions.

“Efforts are underway to increase the production of medicines domestically, ensuring their availability in the market to meet the country’s healthcare needs.”

The State Minister acknowledged that unpopular decisions may be necessary to manage human resources in the health sector, prompting changes in various positions. “The 2024 Budget proposals specifically emphasize the implementation of special guidelines for the procurement of medicines and the establishment of a separate agency dedicated to this purpose. This strategic focus aims to create opportunities for preventing corruption and addressing other questionable incidents during the importation of medicines. “To meet the country’s medicine requirements, essential steps are being taken to enhance domestic medicine production and facilitate their introduction to the market. In managing human resources within the health sector, several unpopular decisions are anticipated, resulting in significant changes in positions. “Furthermore, plans are underway to initiate reforms in the primary health service, aiming for universal health coverage and social protection. The Health Ministry collaborates with the World Health Organization (WHO) to align with global health priorities. “Despite increasing dengue spread due to prevailing weather conditions, collaborative efforts from health teams have successfully reduced the death rate compared to the previous year.”

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