Doctors lamented that the equity and quality of service would be affected with the halt of the ‘second language’, programme, which has been halted due to the lack of funds.
Media Committee Member Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), Dr. Chamil Wijesinghe, fielding questions when contacted, said the Health Ministry had been forced to put a sudden halt to the programme almost a year earlier due to the shortage of funds. The programme could not be conducted satisfactorily in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19. For almost a year the programme couldn’t be held at all due to fund shortages. Dr. Wijesinghe lamented that the quality and equality of the service provided by doctors could be affected due to the lack of Sinhala speaking doctors not knowing how to communicate with their Tamil speaking patients while vis-a-vis Tamil doctors may not be able to communicate with their Sinhala speaking patients. It directly violates the rights of patients to be unable to communicate with their doctor. The situation was most disadvantageous as the medical profession was an all island service.
It also affected increments and grade promotions of medical practitioners, he noted.
The programme was conducted by the Health Ministry in collaboration with the Department of Official Languages and the GMOA. The programme was initiated at the time when MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara was the Minister of National Languages and Social Integration.
By Dilanthi Jayamanne