Counting Bed Tickets

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

Sri Lankas health policy is gradually evolving, as the government studies the possibility of introducing paying wards into a so far, entirely subsidised health sector.
Two task forces at the Health Ministry are working on a suitable model to convert around 10 percent of the beds in state hospitals into paying wards.rn

rnThe World Bank and the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) are jointly sponsoring the project.rn

rnThe study, begun two weeks ago, due to be completed by the end of 2002, is likely to be extended till early next year, Health Ministry officials said.rn

rnAs government policy, all health services, both curative and preventive are currently provided to all Sri Lankans at no cost.rn

rnThe costs of the services are borne by the state based on tax revenues, providing the services through public hospitals and health units.rn

rnBut physical constraints have been forcing the government to look for alternate ways to finance healthcare and push through reforms in the service pr