The JVP in Parliament yesterday charged the Government was boasting of high level State medical facilities, while its own Health Minister seeks medical treatment in a foreign nation.
Chief Opposition Whip and Leader of the JVP, MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, while moving an adjournment motion on the plight of those affected by the prevailing drought, said that affected farming families were suffering due to a lack of medicines at State Hospitals.
“Thousands of farming families are in dire need of affordable medical care but State Hospitals are ill equipped, compelling one of the most vulnerable groups of society to buy medicines from private pharmacies at excessive prices,” – Chief Opposition Whip
Minister of Health Rajitha Seneratne: “Where are these hospitals with a shortage of medicines?”
Chief Opposition Whip: “Moneragala.”
Minister Seneratne: “I will immediately conduct an investigation into the work of the director of that hospital.”
Chief Opposition Whip: “The Government brags that our State Hospitals were at optimal conditions and that all laboratory services are provided free of charge. Why then are there countless numbers of private laboratories surrounding State Hospitals to analyse blood and urine? If Government hospitals have enough stocks of medicines, why are there so many private pharmacies near State Hospitals? In the past we had funeral parlours and casket houses near hospitals because hospitals didn’t provide coffins for deceased patients during those times.Today we have scores of private pharmacies and laboratories providing the same services the Government claims State Hospitals provide free of charge.”
At this point Minister Seneratne attempted to respond but the Chief Opposition Whip continued his tirade.
“If State Hospitals offer the best medical care, why then did the Minister withdraw Rs 10 million from the President’s fund to go to Singapore to procure treatment at Mount Elizabeth Hospital? What kind of beggar is he?”
Opposition were seen shouting criticism at Minister Seneratne and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya called on the House to maintain order.
Chief Opposition Whip: “Why should I sit down? This is my allocated time. Ask the Minister to sit down. Why is he barking like a dog? While he was the Minister of Fisheries he rented the Mutwal Fisheries Harbour at an estimated Rs 1.7 million a month but he gave it away for a mere Rs 125,000 per month for 300 months. When the Bribery Commission was investigating the matter he got the President to transfer the commissioner.
He has put his brother-in-law to head the Ayurvedic Corporation. His wife is giving appointments. He is a thief. Do not make me speak more of your misdeeds. The Minister lost Parliament seat because of his business. He should worship Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for giving him a Parliament seat through the National List.
He is the only person who lost his MP post because of his business. Ask him to sit down. Today the Health sector is in ruin. Villagers die because they do not have the money to buy medicine from private pharmacies. Farmers are suffering from Chronic Kidney disease.