Sri Lanka gets Rs8.7bn Saudi funding for new med school
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will get a concessionary loan of 50 million US dollars (8.7 billion rupees) from Saudi Arabia to set up a fully-equipped medical faculty at state-sponsored Sabaragamuwa University Ratnapura, the finance ministry said.
The loan for 187.5 million Saudi riyals (50 million US dollars) will be used to construct infrastructure facilities for a medical school at the university.
"This Program will contribute to the government policy of augmenting the opportunities for higher education in the field of medicine in Sri Lanka," the ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
Finance Secretary R.H.S. Samratunga led a delegation to Riyadh last week to negotiate the terms.
The funding will be provided by the Saudi Fund for Development.
According to the Sri Lanka Medical Council, the body regulating doctors, Sri Lanka has nine medical schools all of which are attached to state universities.
The Sabaragamuwa University does not have a functioning medical faculty.
University of Moratuwa, South Eastern University in Ampara, and Wayamba University in Kurunegala are three other state universities without medical faculties.
A private medical school operated by the South Asian Institute of Technology and Management is not recognized by the council.
A union of public funded state doctors and med students continue to agitate against its existence, depriving tax-payers an opportunity to educate themselves at their own expense without burdening the public.
The private med school was built at a cost of 3 billion rupees and included a 850-bed teaching hospital. (You can read more on this here.)
The Hippocratic Oath, taken by all doctors, says “I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.”
It does not distinguish between where the medical students hail from, exposing the hypocrisy of state doctors.
Sri Lanka needs more doctors. It has a doctor for every 1,100 people in the country, whereas the world averages 670, according to a 2016 Fitch report. (COLOMBO, 17 April 2019-SB)