June 09, Colombo: President Ranil Wickremesinghe has taken decisive action to combat the spread of Covid-19 and Dengue in the country by establishing both a Ministerial Committee and an Expert Committee.
These Committees have been formed in accordance with Cabinet Decision No. 23/Miscellaneous/026 issued on June 22nd, 2023.
The Ministerial Committee, led by Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardene, comprises 8 members, including Cabinet and State Ministers. Their primary responsibility is to implement urgent measures aimed at controlling the spread of Covid-19 and Dengue nationwide.
Simultaneously, President’s Secretary Mr. Saman Ekanayake, acting upon President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s instructions, has appointed an Expert Committee consisting of 11 members who possess extensive knowledge in the relevant field. This Committee will provide invaluable expertise and guidance in the fight against Covid-19 and Dengue.
To support the Ministerial Committee in its objectives, the following experts and officials in the relevant fields have been appointed as members of the Experts Committee:
This Committee comprises Dr. Seetha Arambepola – State Minister of Health as the Chairperson, and Mr. S. Janaka Sri Chandraguptha – Secretary, Ministry of Health, Ms. M Kodippiliarachchi – Additional Secretary (Local Government & Provincial Councils), Dr. Asela Gunawardena – Director General of Health Services, Dr. S. M. Arnold – Deputy Director General (Public Health Services – I), Dr. Samitha Ginige – Director, Epidemiology Unit, Dr. Nalin Ariyarathne – Director, National Dengue Control Unit, Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama – Senior Consultant Physician, Dr. Lakkumar Fernando – Pediatrician, Prof. Neelika Malavige – Professor, Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine and Dr. Upul Dissanayake – Consultant Physician as members of this Committee.
In addition, Mrs. Buddhika S. Gamage, Senior Assistant Secretary to the President has been appointed as the Convener of the Committee.
To facilitate the work of the Experts Committee, nine Provincial sub-Committees have been established. These sub-Committees will be chaired by the Chief Secretary of the relevant province and will include representatives from various key sectors such as education, fisheries, health, Local Government, and the Tri Forces. The involvement of these sub-Committees aims to enhance collaboration and coordination at the provincial level in the fight against Covid-19 and Dengue.
Dr. Arambepola and the newly appointed Committee members are expected to contribute their expertise and knowledge to develop effective strategies and policies to control the spread of these diseases and safeguard public health in the country.
The Ministerial Committee responsible for addressing the spread of Covid-19 and Dengue convened at the parliament, chaired by Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena today (09).
During the meeting, representatives from the Dengue Control Unit were also present. While acknowledging the effective functioning of the healthcare system in the country, the urgent need to implement an educational program at the provincial level was emphasized.
Furthermore, it was decided that the Experts Committee would convene on Tuesday, the 13th. The Provincial Chief Secretaries will be invited to attend this meeting, and the formulation of a Dengue control action plan at the provincial level will be a key agenda item.