Parliament | Daily News


Provide LRH with Operation Theatre Equipment – Minister Nanayakkara

Water Supply Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara yesterday suggested that the Health Ministry grant the required equipment and the operation theatres to the Lady Ridgeway Hospital (LRH) to prevent the deaths of three to four children every month out of 1,500 children who are in the waiting list for surgeries.

The Minister also said that physicians said that they were ready to bring the death rate to zero if the theatres were constructed. The Minister said that it was a tragedy that we could not prevent them. Minister Nanayakkara was participating in the Committee Stage Debate on the Budget proposals 2022 under the Finance Heads of the Health Ministry; Indigenous Medicine Promotion, Rural and Ayurveda Hospitals Development and Community Health State Ministry; Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals State Ministry and Primary Healthcare, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control State Ministry.

Minister Nanayakkara also requested the health sector to provide the required equipment to the operation theatres of the Cardiology Units of the Colombo National Hospital. The Minister said that what he learnt was that the buildings have been already constructed, Theatres in them, too, have been completed and what is lacking is only the required equipment. The Minister added that there are around 3,000 patients in the waiting list for heart surgeries. Of them, several die every week including three to four youth.

Minister Nanayakkara also requested the Government to acquire the hospitals under the Estate Sector. The Minister added that it was the responsibility of the Estate Companies to maintain them and provide them with facilities. The Minister added that these companies are money-oriented and do not provide facilities to these hospitals.

Minister Nanayakkara said that there are around 15 such hospitals in the Sabaragamuwa Province alone.

Minister Nanayakkara also said that the physicians are requesting President's Secretary to send the tenders related to the LRH without delay.


Speaker draws attention to Ministers’ absence

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday drew attention to the absence of Ministers who occupy the frontline of the Chamber while a serious matter was being considered in the House.

Several Government and Opposition Members including the Opposition Leader, and Leader of the House were discussing measures to be taken to immediately address the matter regarding several cases on the explosions of gas cylinders reported in the country.

The Speaker said that Ministers appear in the Chamber when the President visits the House. If it continues like that, I will have to request the President be present in the House every day, Speaker Abeywardena said.

The Speaker said that none of the frontline Ministers who sit beside the Chief Government Whip was present.

“This House is bound to provide credible answers to the serious problems in the country, and we cannot have ministers being absent like this way. Therefore, I will request the Chief Government Whip to pay necessary attention to this matter,” the Speaker said.


MP Diana Gamage elected as SLSAPFA President

Parliamentarian Diana Gamage was elected as the President of Sri Lanka–South Africa Parliamentary Friendship Association (SL-SAPFA) for the ninth Parliament yesterday (29).

The meeting in this regard was held under the patronage of Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena. High Commissioner of South Africa in Sri Lanka Sandile Edwin Schalk participated in the meeting as a Special Guest of Honour. Several Ministers, State Ministers, Parliamentarians and the Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake were also present.

Parliamentarians Aravindh Kumar, Weerasumana Weerasinghe and Marjan Faleel were elected as the Vice Presidents of the Association. MP Prof. Charitha Herath was elected as the Secretary and MP S. M. M. Muszhaaraff was elected as Asst. Secretary. MP Ishak Rahuman was elected as Treasurer.

The Speaker said that the Sri Lanka-South Africa Parliamentary Friendship Association will enhance the cordial relationship that exists between the two countries for many decades to come. “South Africa is the leading trading partner for Sri Lanka in the South African Region and the two countries will enter into a Free Trade Agreement” the Speaker added.

Congratulating the President and Office Bearers on their membership of the Association, Sandile Edwin Schalk, expressed confidence that the establishment of the Association would strengthen Parliamentary exchanges and interactions between the two countries.

While denying the media reports on the new variant of the COVID virus ‘Omicron’, the High Commissioner clarified that although South African doctors were the first to discover the virus, it did not originate in South Africa. Newly elected President of the Sri Lanka-South Africa Parliamentary Friendship Association MP Diana Gamage said that relations between two legislatures could be expanded through study and goodwill visits by Parliamentarians of both countries.


We fully vaccinated 62.7 per cent of our population - State Minister Jayasumana

Sri Lanka has fully vaccinated 62.7 per cent of its population. It is a great achievement whereas even America is behind us in their vaccination drive, said State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Channa Jayasumana.

He said that Sri Lanka is in a far better position in terms of the number of deaths when compared to developed countries such as the US and UK. “Even America has only fully vaccinated 59.1 per cent of their population. Even in the the Asian region, Sri Lanka is ahead in terms of vaccinations. So far, 69 countries have only fully vaccinated 25 per cent of their population. Another 120 countries have vaccinated less than 50 per cent, but, we have reached 62.7 per cent,” the State Minister said.

He also said that so far over 500,000 persons had already received the Pfizer booster shot as well.

“So far, we have imported 35,721,780 vaccines, while 26 million are Sinopharm, 1.5 million of Moderna, 1.2 million of Covishield, 1,455,000 of AstraZeneca, 330,000 doses of Sputnik and 5,171,000 doses of Pfizer, altogether 45.5 billion and for Pfizer, the World Bank sponsored the cost and the Asian Development Bank had agreed to sponsor the Sinopharm vaccines,” he said.

However, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Mujibur Rahuman accused the Government of financial irregularities in the purchase of vaccines.

As a result, a heated argument ensued between MP Mujibur Rahman and State Minister Prof. Jayasumana.

“An investigation must be done with regard to the cost of the vaccines purchased by the Government. The cost of a Sinopharm vaccine was USD 10, whereas our country had bought one at USD 15. This needs to be looked into. The President came into power claiming to put an end to corruption and bring about a change. But now he has not been able to do anything. He also needs to investigate this fraud,” MP Rahman said.

He said that the Government was not interested in promoting the vaccine but instead they were promoting various local concoctions (Paniyas).


More Ayuvedic Medical Centres will be set up to gain Foreign Exchange – State Minister Jayakody

The Government is taking measures to set up Ayuvedic and Hela Medical Centres to treat paralyzed and cancer patients to attract foreign exchange as these treatments are popular overseas, said Indigenous Medicine Promotion , Rural and Ayurveda Hospitals Development and Community Health State Minister Sisira Jayakody yesterday.

The State Minister said that the Government is taking measures to set up these medical centres in foreign countries where the medical system is popular and where it can be promoted with the assistance of around 700 young ayurvedic doctors.

The State Minister said that as this sphere of health is a booming industry and the Government is amending laws to develop and improve it. He added that the colonists had imposed laws to perish the country's medical system. “They also banned different important herbal plants as well. The educated crowds initiated the humiliation of patriotism, indigenous knowledge and the medical system, which finally had the adverse effects on the indigenous medical system and made us indebted to the foreigners.

The State Minister also said the Government has initiated producing the raw materials for the ayurvedic medicines through Suwadarani Village Concept as import of herbs drains much money out of the country.

State Minister Jayakody said that the Government is taking measures to amend laws in three months to enable the medicinal cannabis cultivation in the country only for export and medicines.

The State Minister was participating in the Committee Stage Debate on the Budget proposals 2022 under the Finance Head of the Health Ministry; Indigenous Medicine Promotion , Rural and Ayurveda Hospitals Development and Community Health State Ministry; Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals State Ministry and the Primary Healthcare, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control State Ministry.

State Minister Jayakody also said that although the Opposition speaks of the LPG issue, there was no such issue with the Oxygen required to the COVID patients even at its worst point. He also said that the former Health Minister who was also the Indigenous Medicine Minister under the Good Governance Government said that the first need is the food and the second is the medicine.

The State Minister added that where Indigenous Medicine Minister at that time went wrong was that according to indigenous health practice, the food itself is the medicine.

The State Minister said that during the COVID 19 pandemic, 16 Ayurvedic hospitals were converted to COVID Treating Centres where over 10,000 were treated and added that the Suwadarani was promoted as an immunity booster and was used by around 3.7 million people.

The State Minister said that the Ministry could develop Ape Weda Mahaththya website to trace over 20,000 registered ayurvedic doctors in the country enabling persons even from overseas to contact them.

The State Minister added that it will attract foreign exchange to the country. He added it was a success of the field that for the first time in the history of the country, an ayurvedic physician could be appointed as the Ayurveda Commissioner. He added that this Government could register 607 Avurvedic centres and another 1,310 centres were issued with licences.

The State Minister also said that under the instructions of the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 500 Suwadarani Osu Kenda Sal (Herbal Drink Centres) will be opened across the country to popularize them instead of milk.


JVP has forgotten their destructive history – MP Mayadunne

The National People's Power (NPP) Parliamentarans who alleged that the Government has set back the economy of the country, have forgotten how their original party, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) bankrupted the economy by destroying electricity posts, transformers, and burning CTB buses among others, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Parliamentarian Chinthaka Amal Mayadunne yesterday said.

The MP also said that Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Ashok Abeysinghe is demanding the Government to close down the country and added that it was the need of the Opposition to jeopardize the Government. The MP added that the country is drawn back due to the COVID 19 and the country is striving hard now to overcome the situation.

MP Mayadunne said that the Government has implemented a massive programme to control the COVID pandemic in the country. He added that the former Good Governance Government Minister and SJB MP Gayantha Karunathilake repent during his speech over what they could not accomplish during their four and half years’ tenure.

The MP was participating in the Committee Stage Debate on the Budget proposals 2022 under the Finance Head of the Health Ministry; Indigenous Medicine Promotion , Rural and Ayurveda Hospitals Development and Community Health State Ministry; Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals State Ministry and Primary Healthcare, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control State Ministry.

The MP said that the first vaccine has been given to 15.926 million people (72.72 per cent) of the country’s population. He added that the second dose has been given to 62.7 per cent of the population and said that it is a massive victory for a country like Sri Lanka. The MP added that the Government has made allocations for those whose living was affected by the COVID 19 pandemic.

He added that Rs. 600 million has been allocated to provide relief for three wheeler drivers while another Rs. 1,500 million has been allocated to provide relief to the private bus drivers.


Woman died in gas explosion though she committed suicide – MP Kins Nelson

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Polonnaruwa District MP Kins Nelson said in Parliament yesterday (30) that he did not mislead the House when providing details on a recent death in a household gas cylinder explosion.

The reference was made to one woman victim in a gas explosion that took place in Welikanda, Sandunpura.

MP Nelson responded when State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna said that the woman did not die from a gas explosion but committing suicide. However, MP Nelson said that the woman died in a gas explosion.

The Speaker at this juncture told the MP to make his case before the Special Ministerial Meeting that will be held in Parliament today (1) on the reports of gas explosions.


‘Jaffna Teaching Hospital severely under-equipped’

The Jaffna Teaching Hospital is under-equipped, said Ahila Ilankai Thamil Congress (AITC) MP Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said adding that it is probably the most important hospital in the North. He said that therefore, it is imperative to address its shortcomings.

Whilst thanking the medical staff for tirelessly working during the most trying times in modern history and focusing praise towards doctors and medical staff in the North and East of the country, during his statement in Parliament yesterday, the MP said that since 2013, the hospital has not had a Maternity Ward as it was in a dilapidated condition. “Ever since, no steps have been taken to build a Maternity Ward, and the hospital is still running temporary wards. Due to this, over 50 per cent of expectant mothers are provided treatment as floor patients,” he said.

He, therefore, urged the Health Minister to look into the matter immediately. MP Ponnambalam also highlighted the shortage of nurses and minor staff at the Hospital.

“Nurses are of paramount importance. At the Jaffna hospital, there was an approved cadre of 657 nurses, whereas there are only 573 nurses now. Of them, 50 nurses are on leave at any given time, and 78 nurses are pending transfers. A cadre assessment has not been done recently, and these figures are based on very old assessments. The hospital has made a request for at least 134 appointments to be made immediately, but to no avail. If the population to nurses’ ratio is assessed, there should be well over 1,200 nurses,” MP Ponnambalam said.


‘Take strict measures to prevent ‘Omicron’ from entering SL’

Former Health Minister Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Dr. Rajitha Senaratne yesterday requested the Government to take strict measures to prevent the COVID-19 variant Omicron from entering the country.

Former Minister Dr. Senaratne added that if the airport is properly managed, the country could be kept away from the new variant. MP Senaratne also said that a small island like Sri Lanka would not be able to withstand such a dangerous variant. He said that if the variant entered the country, the public could be in a great danger.

MP Dr. Senaratne said that the delay in the vaccination programmes caused a serious crisis during the third wave of the pandemic. MP Senaratne also said that the Government went after myths, disregarding scientific solutions to the pandemic. He said that the Government even went ahead with promoting various local medicines like Dhammika Peniya, Ritigala Peniya and Sudarshini Peniya, which resulted in more casualties. “Even the Speaker was offered them. The committee of experts including Prof. Lalitha Mendis, Prof. Harendra Silva, Prof. Navaratna Bandara, Prof. Kalinga Tudor Silva, Prof. Chandani Liyanage, Dr. Ranil Abeysinghe, Dr. S.M.S. Samarakoon and Dr. N.V.M. Jayawardena. According to this Committee’s concluding remarks, the Dhammika Peniya was a cunning device to slide Sinhala Buddhist nationalism in an effort to gain publicity through electronic media coverage and make quick money in supplying the peniya as a miracle cure for the pandemic,” MP Dr. Senaratne said quoting the Committee report.




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