WHO commends Lanka’s anti-drug regulations
First in Asia to implement tobacco, alcohol control
COLOMBO: The Director General of the World Health Organisation
(WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan has highly commended Sri Lanka for becoming the
first country in Asia to implement laws to minimise the use of drugs and
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s initiative Mathata Thitha (Full stop to
drugs and liquor) has set a good example for other countries in the
region, Chan has said.
This was revealed by Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala
de Silva following a meeting with Dr. Chan held after the 60th World
Health Assembly held in Geneva.
Dr. Chan has said Sri Lanka has set a record and a very good example
for the whole of Asia.
“Many non-communicable diseases that spread across Asia from time to
time never hit Sri Lanka and it shows the dedication of the Sri Lankan
Government and Sri Lankan people towards maintaining good healthcare.
The WHO will extend its fullest support to Sri Lanka to maintain this
status,” she had stated.
Minister de Silva explained how Sri Lanka has successfully cut down
smoking by 90 per cent and alcohol by 40 per cent after introducing the
Tobacco and Alcohol Control Act from December 1 last year.
Sri Lanka is one of the four countries in the world that has
implemented laws to control the use of tobacco and alcohol. The rest
three are developed countries, the Minister pointed out.
Minister de Silva also explained to her that 12 per cent of Sri
Lanka’s income depends on the taxes on tobacco and alcohol but Sri Lanka
spends 22 per cent of the national income to treat persons who fall sick
due to the use of tobacco and alcohol, thus negating any monetary gains.
Considering this situation Sri Lanka has set up Tobacco and Alcohol
Authority and closed all liquor outlets for two weeks during all
religious and cultural festivals.