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Wednesday September 27th, 2023

IFC, Hemas partner for digital health service in Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT – International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group and Sri Lankam conglomerate Hemas Holdings have partnered to provide an affordable and quality health-care through digital technology  supported by local management consultancy, L.E.K Consulting, the IFC said in a statement.

“Sri Lanka will be the first country to benefit from an IFC global initiative designed to boost access to affordable and quality health-care,” the IFC said in a statement.

The initiative is named to be Global Digital Health Platform (DigiHealth) which will commence in Sri Lanka, is expected to create a platform to partner with healthcare organizations to develop, implement and finance digital transformation strategies.

DigiHealth is to offer a range of digital healthcare solutions including medical care, health education, health information services via telehealth, specialist healthcare via telemedicine, and the means for health-care providers to transform their processes through automation, digitization and advanced analytics.

“Easy access to quality healthcare services has become increasingly important in a post-COVID world, especially for vulnerable communities,” aid Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson, Group CEO of Hemas.

“We hope that with IFC’s backing, we will be able to ensure that DigiHealth will play a pivotal role in ensuring that all Sri Lankans will have access to quality healthcare at their fingertips.”

A grand view research conducted had expected digital health systems globally to reach $95 billion in 2018 and reach $509 billion by 2025.

However, with the pandemic in play, targets an expectation of long-term growth has been channeled for the digital health industry with possibilities to raveling up changes for the industry as a whole.

“The DigiHealth platform is IFC’s response to the rising demand for digital health services, which aim to be delivered at a higher quality and lower cost, which is needed in a country like Sri Lanka were existing private sector players have limited reach,” said Rana Karadsheh, Regional Industry Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services at IFC Asia Pacific.

Sri Lanka is increasingly facing shortage of medical practitioners as more senior consultants and doctors leave the country in the face of the economic crisis while the government policy to reduce the retirement age also has cut down the number of medical practitioners. (Colombo/Sep24/2022)

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Sri Lanka to have country pavilion at COP28 in bid for Climate Justice Forum

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Cabinet has approved the proposal by its Minister of Environment to maintain a country pavilion during the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28), to display “national level initiatives related to climate change”.

Sri Lankan delegates representing the country’s interests at COP28 in November are to present a proposal to establish a forum, with the aim of raising a “common voice” for the aspirations of developing countries in the global dialogue over climate change.

While attending COP28 to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change from 30 November to 12 December in Dubai, the Sri Lankan delegation is to present the proposal to the official body requesting permission for Sri Lanka to initiate a “Climate Justice Forum”.

The Cabinet decision said that the purpose of the forum is “raise a common voice regarding the aspirations of developing countries, together with countries that are more likely to be at risk due to climate change”. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s sex workers face false charges: Women’s collective

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s sex workers have faced fundamental rights violations including unlawful detention and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, a representative of the Abhimani Women’s Collective said at a conference yesterday (26).

“Following their arrest, sex workers frequently experience the infringement of their fundamental rights, including the right to fair treatment, due process and protection from cruel and inhumane treatment,” said a report by the Abhimani Women’s Collective.

Soliciting on the street is currently illegal under section 7 1 (a) of the Vagrants Ordinance which criminalizes ‘any person in and about any public place soliciting any person for the commission of any act or of illicit sexual intercourse or indecency.

This provision along with section 2 of the Brothel’s Ordinance, which criminalizes the aiding and abetting of the management of a brothel, has been used to arrest sex workers in the country.

However, many sex workers claim that they have been presented before court on false charges of drug possession and have been subjected to harassment by both Police and customers.

“When inquiries are made over our arrest, the police say that we have been charged with drug possession,” Sakuni Mayadunna, a sex worker, said.

“Prostitution is not legal in Sri Lanka, so therefore, sex workers will face problems,” Chief of Police in charge of the Child and Women Abuse Prevention, Renuka Jayasundara, said.

“However, every citizen has fundamental rights in this country. We have not authorized the Police to carry out actions such as hitting detainees or not providing a female officer. If those actions happen, a complaint must be filed.”

Attorney-at-Law for the legal aid commission, Ganga Somarathna, said that the legal aid commission provides legal support for such victims whose income is below 45,000 rupees and also for women and children. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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Sri Lanka to introduce social security system: minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Labour minister has said that they are set to introduce a comprehensive national social security system, covering all workers.

“The system will address the weaknesses of the current system and provide much-needed support to workers and their families,” Manusha Nanayakkara, Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment said on X (formerly known as Twitter).
He did not specify the details.

Nanayakkara also spoke of the need for robust social security when he met with exporters last week to discuss labor law reforms, boosting female workforce participation and attracting FDI.

Sri Lanka plans to reform labour laws for an export-oriented economy.

The pandemic and the economic crisis highlighted the need to improve the coverage of social security.

Studies have shown that Sri Lanka’s women are kept out of formal employment by childcare, elderly care and housework, as day care and elderly homes are either too expensive or too few.

The government imposed a Social Security Contribution Levy to increase its revenue last year. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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