He was speaking at a press conference held at the UNP Sirikotha Head office yesterday.
He said that UNP leader Ranil Wickeramesinghe had been presenting facts regarding the current situation in the country since February this year. We as a Party continued to raise these issues. First we need to understand what the Health Ministry is all about. The Health Ministry cannot be handled like other Ministries. Expertise of experienced officers, in each area is very important. Former Secretary to the State Ministry Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva, was a specialist in the field of prophylaxis. He was transferred to a ministry to look after cattle. A large number of specialist doctors were transferred in this way. Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Dr. Jayawaruwan Bandara and especially those who worked with experience and knowledge of PCR in the beginning. Dr. Paba Palihawadana is a good former Epidemiologist in Sri Lanka. She was bullied. She joined the World Health Organization later.
Specialist Dr.Sudath Samaraweera was doing a very good job. He had a good knowledge of epidemics. He was transferred to another place. Prof. Asitha de Silva resigned as the Drug Regulatory Authority could not obtain the required approvals. Palitha Abeykoon was removed. The COVID Suppression Unit can now be located somewhere at a three-lane junction. That put out a lot of experienced and talented people. Politicians in the provinces did the same. Those who had knowledge and experience in those provinces were transferred and junior officers were appointed to these places and a big mess was created in the entire Health Ministry during these few months.
Sri Lanka was known in Asia and the world as a country that was very good at controlling epidemics.There are 1,060 hospitals in Sri Lanka. There are 78,000 beds. There are about 200 private hospitals. There are 360 Medical Officer of Health offices. There are about 22,000 doctors. There are about 45,000 nurses. There are about 2,500 public health inspectors. There are about 10,800 midwives. There are more than 150,000 health workers with experience working in the health sector.About 100,000 of them have been trained on how to administer a vaccine. Vaccination cannot be done as one thinks. It has a world-recognized tradition. Physicians, nurses, midwives, PHIs and those who are trained for it have the ability to do this vaccination. If this whole group had participated in the vaccination, even if one person had vaccinated 3,000 a day, a large number of people could have been vaccinated.
The private sector was not allowed to do PCR teste.Antigen testing can be done at any pharmacy in the world. The government took unnecessary burdens and put people in trouble. If this situation is not changed immediately, Sri Lanka will have a world record by the end of this year. Where are the media shows now? Where are the big disinfection campaigns now that this epidemic is spreading on such a large scale? Nothing. All they did was a media show.
“We reject the mistakes made by the government. We must first protect the lives of human beings. That is why we are giving this message today. Not only do we give, but we have put forward several proper arrangements for us to carry this out. Also, our Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told in Parliament that the existing committee should be dissolved immediately and a national committee should be established through the Cabinet by law to be recognized by the World Health Organization and Sri Lanka should work in a manner similar to other countries in the world. We do not just criticize. If the government accepts our proposals for this, we can advise them,” the UNP Chairman said.