Apr 08, Colombo: In an effort to reduce the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) that is debilitating people in farming areas, the Sri Lankan government has launched a programme to implement recommendations made by the World Health Organization (WHO) to prevent the disease.
The Minister of Health Maithreepala Sirisena launched the programme at a ceremony held in Medawchchiya yesterday.
An inter-ministerial committee appointed to implement the WHO recommendations had taken several decisions following the committee's meeting yesterday with the people in North Central Province, where the prevalence of CKD is high, to obtain their views and suggestions.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Agriculture has decided to ban the importation of three pesticides- Chlorpyrifos, Propanil and Carbaryl with immediate effect and reduce the use of triple super phosphate fertilizer.
The Ministry said the decision to ban the pesticides was taken based on the suggestions and advice of experts who have studied the situation regarding the pesticides use by the farmers in the area.
A joint research project conducted by the Sri Lankan government and the WHO found that the high prevalence of chronic kidney disease in the country's main agricultural production regions caused by fertilizer and pesticide use.
The report of the study concluded that a combination of factors that are toxic to the kidneys including nephrotoxic agrochemicals, arsenic and cadmium cause the disease.
The Ministry has also decided to impose a 10 percent health insurance cess tax on pesticides. The income generated by the added levy will be used for the welfare of kidney patients.
Under the measures implemented, printed and electronic media advertisements on pesticides will be banned and the mixing of pesticides will strictly be banned.
The Sri Lankan public, especially the farming community will be enlightened on the safe usage of chemical fertilizer and pesticides.
In recent years a significant increase in the number of CKD patients has been observed in some parts of the country, especially in North Central, North Western, Uva and Eastern Provinces.
According to the WHO study, over 200,000 people have currently been identified to be suffering from chronic kidney disease.