Health of Sri Lankan plantation populations - A project supported by the French Development Agency
The publication of the study on health of the Sri Lankan plantation populations was inaugurated on November 28, 2017 at the residence of the French ambassador. The event was attended by Hon. Ministers Mano Ganeshan, Minister of National Cohesion, Dialogue and Official Languages, and Mr Faizal Cassim, Deputy Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, in partnership with the Agency French Development (AFD), Doctors of the World and Human Development Organization.
Originally, the plantation populations of Sri Lanka descend from South Indian migrants brought by the British in the 19th and 20th centuries to work in coffee, tea and rubber farms.
Despite its significant contribution to the national economy, the one million people currently living on the plantations still face many challenges in particularly difficult living conditions. Poverty, lack of clean water and sanitation, low level of general education and lack of sex education, poor transport infrastructure, poor access to health services and barrier of language have important consequences for the health of these populations.
While Sri Lanka has achieved the health, education and poverty reduction MDGs at the national level, there remain significant regional disparities that require the attention of policymakers and planners. For this reason, the AFD granted in 2015 a subsidy of 500,000 euros to the NGO Médecins du Monde (MdM) in partnership with Human Development Organization, a local association that works with plantation communities.
One of the objectives of the subsidy granted by AFD was to lay the foundations for the integration of the plantation health system into the national health system, with particular emphasis on women and young people. The study first analyze the main legal documents, laws and guidance documents related to improving the quality of sexual and reproductive health services in Sri Lanka and then propose a set of recommendations to the government and the farmers plantations to fill identified gaps between the plantation health system and the national health system.
Dr. Nitharshay Periyasamy - Consultant community physician- Estate and urban health - Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Mr. (Hon) Vadivel Puthirasigamany - Director, Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT), Mr. Sivapragsam- Executive Director Human Development Organisation (not visible), Mrs. Marie-Caroline Schuh-Senlis & H.E. Jean-Marin Schuh, Ambassador of France in Sri Lanka & Maldives, Hon. Faizal Cassim, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Health Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Mrs. Elena Cristini , Country Representative - Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World), Hon. Minister Mano Ganesan, Ministry of National Coexistance, Dialogue and Officiel languages , Mr. Martin Parent, Country Director - French Agency for Development (AFD), Dr. Amal Harsha De Silva - DDG (MS) II- Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine