Sri Lanka discusses the way forward to achieve SDG Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well- being for all at all ages.

22 June 2019, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka. A stakeholder consultation was held recently to discuss Sri Lanka’s efforts at developing the National Action Plan for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Organized by the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine (MoHNIM) and World Health Organization (WHO), the meeting brought together stakeholders responsible for advancing the work towards achieving SDG 3, discuss Sri Lanka’s current position, obtain strategic directions to achieve the targets and identify policy support needed to accelerate the progress.

The meeting was chaired by Ms Wasantha Perera, Secretary of MoHNIM with the active participation of Dr Anil Jasinghe, Director General of Health Services, Dr M. M. S. S. B. Yalegama Additional Secretary (Sustainable Development), Mr Priyantha Samarakkody, Additional Director General, Disaster Management Centre and Directors, Provincial Health Directors, MoHNIM officials together with national and international technical experts.

During the consultation, the group identified gaps and challenges in the country’s health system that are currently impacting the achievement of the health-related SDG targets. These included the following:

• Limited coordination at national level between different ministries responsible for achieving SDGs;
• Inadequate investment targeting the achievement of SDGs;
• Existence of data gaps in monitoring SDGs at national and sub national levels according to equity stratifiers;
• Non-integration of SDGs into the national vision and mission of relevant ministries.

The group recognized that achieving SDGs requires a transformative and integrated process to be followed with political will and vision from the Government of Sri Lanka as essential prerequisites. Strengthening of the Primary Health Care system was identified as one of the principle means of achieving SDG 3 in Sri Lanka.

The group discussed the next steps towards advancing the National Action Plan. They recommended that a series of consultations be held to amalgamate sectoral plans into a single National Action Plan that can be presented to the SDG 3 Steering Committee for approval and subsequent implementation.