Maithripala on collision course with health officials Foreign jaunts curtailed
Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena is on a collision course with a section of the health ministry’s top officials over irregularities, managerial deficiencies and inefficiency.
An irate SLFP General Secretary yesterday (Sept 13) launched a scathing attack on his ministry officials at the opening of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s third high-level dialogue on e-Health for Asia. The two-day meeting is taking place at Cinnamon Grand.
In his brief address to the forum, Minister Sirisena alleged that the public health sector was in a chaotic and sorry state, though some talked of grandiose plans. Sirisena said that he had failed to obtain data relating to the hospital network, medical staff, nursing staff and stocks of medicine and surgical equipment available at hospitals, though he had taken over the ministry five months back.
Embarrassed officials reacted with shock and anger as Minister Sirisena said that the health ministry could not say exactly how many medical specialists were there in the country.
A smiling Sirisena pointed out the absurdity in talking of e-health while he was yet to receive the required data on his computer.
Health Secretary Dr. Ravindra Ruberu and several senior health ministry officials were present on the occasion.
The former Minister of Agriculture, who succeeded Nimal Siripala de Silva accused a small group of officials of going on foreign jaunts regularly on the pretext of participating in various programmes, though they had never implemented in Sri Lanka anything they had learnt abroad.
Minister Sirisena’s attack came close on the heels of his decision to impose restrictions on foreign trips. Although those who had been benefited over the years were furious, Minister Sirisena decided that one official would be entitled for only three foreign visits, according to sources.
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