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Witnessed a different culture of politics during Budget Debate – Keheliya

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Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told Parliament yesterday that for the first time, he had witnessed a different culture of politics during a Budget Debate. He said that usually, the Opposition finds fault with the Government over their Budget and condemns it.

“I must mention Dr. Harsha de Silva who very constructively and cordially pointed out to the shortcomings in the Suwa Seriya ambulance service. It is a lustrous culture of politics. I experienced that here today thanks to you,” he told Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) MP Dr. Harsha de Silva.

However, having appreciated the constructive criticism and pertinent suggestions made by the SJB-MP, he said that the behaviour of some of the other MPs ruined it and termed it as, “dropping a drop of dung into a pot of milk”.

He noted that if there are shortcomings or mistakes made, the Government is always open to discussion. “I believe that we can create a better political culture,” he added.

He said that when the Government was ready to implement the ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ National Polict Framework, the COVID-19 pandemic struck destabilizing all plans.

The Health Minister made special thanks to his Deputy Ministers, State Ministers and all those in the health sector for their selfless contribution in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. “I thank them for putting their families behind their call of duty and served the country. Today it is their commitment and sacrifices that has enabled many to debate and boast about how successful we are in terms of combatting the Covid pandemic and the vaccination drive.”

The Health Minister noted that the President had summoned all the relevant health sector members and came up with a plan on how to deal with the virus. “We had certain drawbacks, but we didn’t cry about it and do nothing. We did what had to be done.”

He also noted that while taking steps to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government ensured that all other sectors did not collapse and were also running smoothly.

“At the start we had only one lab, but by now we have established 40 labs. There are 27 in the state sector and 13 labs in the private sector. At the start we could only allocate 6-7 beds for COVID-19 patients at hospitals, but today around 137 ICU beds are allocated for it. There is no need to gloat but the yardstick to measure our effectiveness is the manner in which we have managed and controlled the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

The Minister also noted that the life expectancy and infant mortality rates have improved significantly over the past 72 years which is testament to the amount of progress made in the health sector. He also added that measures are been taken to improve the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry locally.

The Expenditure Heads of the Ministry of Health, the State Ministry of Indigenous Medicine Promotion, Rural and Ayurvedic Hospitals Development and Community Health, the State Ministry of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals, and the State Ministry of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control were taken up for debate yesterday.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021 – 01:00

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