Sri Lanka, second only to the US in global digital health advances

Thursday, 12 March 2015 05:19

Sri Lanka has several unique achievements in the field of digital health, the second country only after the US to recognise health informatics as a medical speciality, it was noted at an international medical gathering in Colombo this week.

“We have more than one hundred MSC qualified informaticians working in the health services in Sri Lanka setting up digital health systems in the country. We are (also) taking steps to implement digital informatics speciality to cover 300 hospitals in the first phase by 2019 and later to cover the whole country,” said the Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, the Guest of Honour at the Digital Health Sri Lanka 2017 and the 2nd Commonwealth Digital Health Conference and Awards held at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel.

He said the public information systems are being developed rapidly and the Health Ministry hopes to set up of an electronic reproductive information platform on health matters along with maternal and child health data at the end of this year to cover the whole country. “I wish to congratulate the Family Bureau for this unique achievement. Information systems regarding diseases such as Tuberculosis, respiratory diseases, HIV and AIDS, and Malaria information systems are developed by our own health officials with international support .”

Referring to the WHO, he said the Sri Lankan module is being adopted in India. “We are also using IT technology to ensure that there is no shortage of essential drugs in the country. We are the only country in the world to use mobile technology to monitor malnutrition of children in the country and these are some of the unique achievements.”

Minister of Science, Technology and Research Susil Premajayantha said that it was the duty of Sri Lankans to introduce emerging technologies practised in developed countries to Sri Lanka such as Nano technology, Bio technology, genomics, robotics, etc. “We started our Nano technology laboratory about eight years in Sri Lanka where 25 young Phd scientists who studied in other countries are working with us doing research in various sectors in collaboration with the private sector. We want to start the second Nano laboratory this year along with robotics technology,” he said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Thilak Marapana, the Chief Guest at the ceremony, said that Sri Lanka had made unique contributions towards developing digital health and was the second country in the world after the US. This has been made possible due to untiring efforts made by Minister Senaratne,Minister Premajayantha and Prof. Vajira Dissanayake, President of Health Informatics Society of Sri Lanka and President of the Commonwealth Medical Association.

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