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World Bank approves $150 mn for enhancement of SL’s primary healthcare

June 25, Colombo (LNW): The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has sanctioned $150 million in financing aimed at enhancing the quality and utilisation of primary healthcare services in Sri Lanka.

The newly approved Sri Lanka Primary Healthcare System Enhancing Project seeks to improve the quality of care and increase the usage of primary medical care institutions, which are crucial for delivering essential health services to local communities.

Sri Lanka faces challenges in its healthcare system due to capacity issues and the lack of a formal referral mechanism, resulting in the underutilisation of primary healthcare facilities and overcrowding in tertiary care institutions.

The previous World Bank-supported Primary Healthcare Systems Strengthening Project made significant strides by equipping 550 Primary Medical Care Institutions with necessary equipment, medicines, healthcare personnel, and basic laboratory testing facilities.

Building on these achievements, the new project aims to scale up efforts to encompass all Primary Medical Care Institutions across Sri Lanka’s districts, expanding to over 1,000 facilities.

These institutions will offer a more comprehensive service package and improved quality of care.

Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, stated, “Sri Lanka’s health system has shown remarkable performance, but it must be fortified to tackle emerging healthcare challenges.

This project will support the country’s forward-looking primary care reorganisation agenda, establishing the foundation for a more responsive and people-centric healthcare system.”

Non-communicable diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, and cervical cancer, are the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in Sri Lanka, accounting for 80% of deaths.

Effective management of these conditions requires robust screening, early diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up.

Additionally, Sri Lanka’s rapidly ageing population necessitates adaptations in the health system to address the increasing healthcare needs of the elderly.

This project is designed to meet these evolving health priorities, investing in preventive care and promoting primary care facilities as the initial point of care.

The project will also expand comprehensive primary healthcare services by enhancing capacity to cover mental health, palliative care, geriatric care, rehabilitative services, and emergency care, which are particularly vital for the ageing population.

Furthermore, the project will enhance pandemic preparedness by increasing the capacity of primary medical care institutions to detect and respond to future infectious disease outbreaks, ensuring that Sri Lanka’s healthcare system can effectively adapt to new and emerging challenges, according to the World Bank.

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