For the first time in medical history, 49 doctors, the highest number so far were appointed to the Eastern Province at a ceremony to hand over appointment letters held in Colombo yesterday.
`This is the first time that so many doctors were posted to the Eastern Province and with the government taking control of the province the appointees need not fear to serve in these areas`, the Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva said.
The government will assure their safety and in return expected a dedicated service to the people of the area, who underwent severe hardship in the recent past, he said.
A total of 221 appointments were given yesterday and 25 per cent were allocated to the Eastern Province.
The government plans to accelerated development projects aimed at bringing economic and social development in the area and upgrading the living standards of the people in this war torn area.
The healthcare services will be strengthened in the estate sector and Nuwara Eliya district where the maternal mortality and infant mortality rates are higher than the average. Thirty six doctors have been appointed to hospitals in Nuwara Eliya and Dickoya to improve the situation, the Minister said.
At a time when medical graduates in the countries like England, Canada, USA and even India have to spend rupees 20 to 30 million, in Sri Lanka the entire university education is provided free of charge, he said requesting the newly appointed doctors to serve the country to the best of their ability. `We are the only country that absorbs all the medical graduates into the state sector`, he said.
Steps will be taken to produce more specialists in the areas of anesthesia, pathology, radiology and mental health by enabling more doctors to follow specializing courses. A policy decision will be taken shortly to facilitate this move, he added.