Demand for private healthcare to swell with rise in ageing population | Daily News

Demand for private healthcare to swell with rise in ageing population

Dr. Bandula  Wijesiriwardena
Dr. Bandula Wijesiriwardena

Demand for private healthcare is expected to increase owing to Sri Lanka’s ageing population and the increasing prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD’s).

 Both geriatric care and treatment of NCD’s typically require long term care with hospitalization and palliative care from time to time which support demand factors.

Lanka Hospital Corporations Chairman Dr. Bandula Wijesiriwardena told shareholders in the company’s Annual report-2019.

 The report also highlights that  wider acceptance of medical insurance in recent years supported by government-led insurance schemes and increasing personal income, is also expected to boost demand for private healthcare in Sri Lanka. “Key players in the sector followed Lanka Hospitals in promoting medical tourism supported by international accreditation for various aspects, which also had some success enhancing the prospects of this sector. Challenges faced by Sri Lanka’s private healthcare sector include shortages of full time doctors (both specialist and non-specialist), nurses and Para-medical staff, regulated pricing of drugs,laboratory tests and in-patient rooms.

Digital transformation is taking place in the Sri Lankan, private healthcare sector and we at Lanka Hospitals started the journey last year with the introduction of its mobile app, which is available on Google Play Store and the Apple Store, HIS, online lab report and online channelling continues to explore opportunities to expand its digital customer value proposition,” Wijesiriwardena said.

As per the report, human health activities, residential care and social work activities sub sector accounted for 2.4% of the country’s GDP in 2019, reflecting an increase of 16.9% over 2018, indicating the increasing demand for healthcare services. Health related inflation was 3.7% in 2019 compared to 12.2% in 2018, reflecting a moderation in the pricing pressure for patients compared to the previous year.

This was as a result of the steps taken by the National Medicines Regulatory Authority to reduce the prices of selected essential drugs, tests and procedures. Health Services accounts for 2.8% of Private Consumption Expenditure, which is relatively low due to the dominance of the government sector health services. Despite this dominance, the private sector has maintained double-digit growth for the past two years.

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