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Healthcare in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has one of the most effective health systems among developing nations. The health system in Sri Lanka is enriched by a mix of Allopathic, Ayurvedic, Unani and several other systems of medicine that exists together. Of these systems allopathic medicine has become dominant and is catering to the majority of the health needs of the people. As in many other countries Sri Lankan health system consists of both the state and the private sector. The health ministry and the provincial health services provide a wide range of promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health care.
Village-level traditional physicians also remained active until the mid-twentieth century. As part of a free state medical system, government agencies operated health clinics specializing in ayurveda, employed ayurvedic physicians, and supported several training and research institutes in traditional medicine.
Western-style medical practices have been responsible for most of the improvements in health in Sri Lanka in the recent past. Health care facilities and staff and public health programs geared to combat infectious disease are the most crucial areas where development has taken place. The state maintains a system of free hospitals, dispensaries, and maternity services.
As is the case for all services in Sri Lanka, the most complete hospital facilities and highest concentration of physicians were in urban areas, while many rural and estate areas were served by dispensaries and paramedics. The emergency transport of patients, especially in the countryside, was still at a rudimentary level. Some progress has been made in controlling infectious diseases. Smallpox has been eliminated, and the state has been cooperating with United Nations agencies in programs to eradicate malaria. 

Sri Lanka holds a unique position in South Asia as one of the first of the less developed nations to provide universal health, free education, strong gender equality, and better opportunity to social mobility. Since its independence, successive governments have implemented welfare-oriented policies and programs which have allowed Sri Lanka to achieve relatively high standards of social and health development in comparison with countries of similar levels of economic development. As a result of this, the country has made significant improvements in social welfare, both in the development of public health care and education systems.

Last Updated on: 17-05-2010

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