Preceding the 71st Session of the World Health Assembly, due to convene from 21 May - 26 May, the Commonwealth Health Ministers gathered at hotel Starling in Geneva today, to discuss Commonwealth agenda for Universal Health Coverage, pursuant to the implementation of SDG 3.
Sri Lanka delegation led by Minister of Health and Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Rajitha Senaratne participated at this meeting, which was addressed by the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Rt Hon Patricia Scotland and Madam Graca Machel, Co-Founder of the Elders Foundation.The latter delivered the key note address in which she highlighted the importance of awareness gen
eration and resource mobilisation towards attaining the goal of universal health coverage.
The Commonwealth Secretary General highlighted Sri Lanka as a shining example in health coverage for its population, which, she said, was extending the service delivery to near universal levels. She also appreciated Sri Lanka for the innovative and forward looking approach aimed to promote affordable health care for all its people, building upon the health service delivery system that had been in place in Sri Lanka since 1952.
Ms. Graca Machel, highlighting both the progress achieved as well as the existing gaps in many countries of the Commonwealth in providing affordable healthcare coverage, singled out Sri Lanka as a healthcare model among Commonwealth developing countries.
Having paid glowing tribute to Sri Lanka's leadership in the delivery of healthcare services, she ended her keynote address with a poser directed to all those present at the meeting; if Sri Lanka could make this achievement through sustained policy focus and targeted interventions, why those countries, which were lagging behind, can not also follow through and make affordable healthcare a reality.
Expressing his sincere appreciation to the Commonwealth Secretary General and Ms. Machel for the compliments paid to the country, Minister Senarathne recalled Sri Lanka's multifaceted cooperative engagement with the WHO, which stood further strengthened under its new Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.