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Tuesday September 26th, 2023

WHO seeking public assistance in renaming monkeypox to combat stigma

ECONOMYNEXT- The World Health Organisation (WHO) has asked the public’s help in renaming the monkeypox virus in an attempt to discourage misconceptions fueled by racism and stigma around the LGBTQI+ community.

In a statement released on August 12, WHO said it is holding an “open consultation for a new disease name for monkeypox. Anyone wishing to propose new names can do so.”

“Current best practice is that newly-identified viruses, related disease, and virus variants should be given names with the aim to avoid causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups, and minimise any negative impact on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare,” the statement said.

Health experts and scientists called for an “urgent need” in changing the name of the virus, as a move to combat racism and stigma around the LGBTQI+ community.

“The prevailing perception in the international media and scientific literature is that [monkeypox virus] is endemic in people in some African countries.In the context of the current global outbreak, continued reference to, and nomenclature of this virus being African is not only inaccurate but is also discriminatory and stigmatising,” the team of scientists was quoted as saying.

Names for the virus can be submitted through an online portal. As of August 10, 27,814 cases have been confirmed by WHO globally, with cases being reported in 89 countries. Global risk is considered moderate.

Link to the portal for renaming –

Sri Lanka has no reported cases of monkeypox yet. Deputy Director General of Health Services DrHemantha Herath ensured that Sri Lanka is ready to tackle the disease.

“When the outbreak was reported globally, we issued reports to the medical practitioners as to how they should handle any suspected cases,” Herath said speaking to EconmyNext on Monday August 15.

Meanwhile, the WHO handed over real-time PCR test kits for monkeypox to Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella on August 05 and the kits may be used for diagnosis of up to 730 monkeypox cases.

“The decision taken with regard to the name can have an impact on the concerns spoken about. However, on most occasions the old name will continue. Changing the name is not a 100 percent solution, but educating and empowering the people will also have an impact.” said Herath.

“They changed the name of Bombay onions to big onion, but people here still refer to it as Bombay onions. So it is not a 100 percent solution but to some extent will mitigate the impact,” he said. (Colombo/Aug/2022)

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Sri Lanka cabinet okays appropriation bill for 2024 budget

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers had approved a draft Appropriation Act for 2024, the state information office said.

The Finance Minister’s proposal to gazette the bill and table it in parliament was approved by the cabinet.

Presenting the appropriation bill is the first stage of presenting a budget for 2024,

The appropriation bills set outs the expenditure plans for each ministry.

The budget proposals, made in November is called the second reading of the Appropriation Act. (Colombo/Sept24/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s MEPA to get 28.5 mn rupees from Singaporean AEPW, for beach clean up

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) is to receive 5.7 million rupees a year, for five years, from Singapore-based marine waste solutions provider, Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), to maintain 8 beach cleaner machines.

The donation is meant to support MEPA clean coastal areas across Sri Lanka, using BeachTech Hydro Sweepy beach cleaner machines, previously donated by the organisation.

The oil industry-founded non-governmental organisation donated the 8 beach cleaners worth about US$180,000 to MEPA in the wake of the 2021 MV X-press Pearl ship disaster.

The machines manufactured by Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG, a German company, are effective at cleaning up plastic nurdles and other types of potentially harmful non-biodegradable waste, minimising human contact with hazardous materials.

As a significant amount of money is spent for the deployment of these machines for beach cleaning activities, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste has agreed to provide the funds for the upkeep of the machines for a period of five years.

With this financial donation, the Maritime Environment Protection Authority will be able to continue using these machines without interruption to clean identified beaches in the future. (Colombo/Sep26/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s SEC makes four new appointments

ECONOMYNEXT – The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) made four new additions from diverse backgrounds to its leadership.

These appointments are expected to increase the effectiveness of the SEC secretariat in the respective operating areas, the SEC said.

Manuri Weerasinghe, with over 20 years of experience in accounting, financial management, financial reporting and auditing, was appointed Director, Corporate Affairs.

She is a Fellow Member of CA Sri Lanka, member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and a member of the Certified Practicing Accountants of Australia.

Her academic credentials include a Master of Business Administration and a BSc (Hons) in Accountancy and Financial Management (Special).

Prior to joining the SEC, she served in several financial management positions in Bermuda and Sweden.

Madura P R Wanigasekara was appointed Chief Digital Officer. He has over 20 years delivering and managing IT solutions, and has held several senior management positions in the public and private sectors.

His academic qualifications include a Master of Science in Information Technology from the University of Colombo and a Bachelor of Information Technology from the Curtin University of Technology.

He is also a member of the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

Sharmila Panditaratne was appointed Assistant Director, Legal and Enforcement.

She is an Attorney-at-Law with over 21 years of experience as a securities market regulator.

She holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Houston, Texas and has worked at two law firms in the USA prior to joining the SEC.

Riyaz Bary, Deputy Solicitor General at the Attorney General’s Department was appointed a Director on secondment basis. (Colombo/Sep26/2023)

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