Sri Lanka to open 10 paying wards by end-2023 – minister

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Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry is in the process of opening 10 paying wards across the country by the end of this year amid resource constraints to ensure privacy, Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.

Sri Lanka’s unprecedented economic crisis has forced the island nation government to look into all possibilities to cut costs across all the sectors while the country’s free health and education services are facing threats of cost cutting and reduced services.

Already many state hospitals are facing scarcity of medicines despite donations and grants from many international organizations.

“We are in the process of preparing 10 paying wards. Most probably we should be able to open them by the end of the year,” Rambukwlla told EconomyNext on Sunday (02).


The paying wards are planned in 10 locations including Chilaw, Gampaha, Nuwara Eliya, and Colombo a,omh others, he said.

“We find some difficulties in providing toilet facilities and separation to ensure privacy.”

Sri Lanka has allocated 322 billion rupees or 4.1 percent to the health sector in 2023 out of its total 7.9 trillion rupee expenditure. However, many state hospitals are struggling to maintain the free health services and severe deficit of some drugs.

The paying ward concept is already in practice at Colombo National and Sri Jayawardenapura Hospital at a reduced cost compared to private hospitals. Minister Rambukwella had earlier said the move was not to privatize the health service, but to sustain the free health service.

In a budget for 2023, President Ranil Wickremesinghe had said that paid wards will be set up in national and base hospitals, starting with the Colombo National hospital. (Colombo/July 3/2023)

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