Healthcare in Sri Lanka



Expatriates will be glad that the government of Sri Lanka is stepping up its efforts to take care of the welfare of its people. It is doing its best to address health problems like inequities in health service provision, care of elderly and disabled citizens, prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases, accidents and suicides.

To ensure that they are adequately protected, those planning to move to Sri Lanka are advised to visit their personal physician or any travel health clinic four to five weeks before the departure. Immunisations for yellow fever and cholera as well as vaccinations for typhoid and malaria should be safe and are, in fact, necessary to fully enjoy the stay in Sri Lanka. Although Sri Lanka's health care sector is far from perfect, it has one of the most effective health care systems among the developing nations. The public healthcare system of Sri Lanka is offered for free and has so far maintained a focus on equity. The mission of this health policy is mainly to increase life expectancy and improve the quality of life of its citizens and migrants too.

Healthcare Coverage for Expats

Sri Lanka boasts a universal healthcare system that provides free medical and healthcare services to its people. Here, even expats can access treatments free of charge. However, since public healthcare is ‘free’ for everyone, many locals and foreign nationals in this country started complaining about long wait lists in state-funded hospitals which resulted to lack of comfort in terms of accessing healthcare. Many expatriates and Sri Lankans who can afford opt to purchase national or private health insurance plans.

Insurance companies in Sri Lanka offer top quality national health insurance plans to foreigners. The plans will serve to provide a safety net for these expats in terms of their health care needs. Insurers are also able to fully customise a health insurance policy to meet their clients' exact expectations and requirements. Coverage options which they can provide will usually include benefits for emergency evacuation, specialist consultations, even dental coverage and especially maternity treatment.

Doctors and Traditional Medicine

Sri Lanka is among the top five Asian countries when it comes to statistic improvements both in their health profile and their health care system. This is also one of the few Asian countries where the healthcare system allows a patient to go straight to the hospital or see a specialist, whether public or private, without a referral from a General Practitioner (GP). As of today, Sri Lanka has an estimated total of 17,129 qualified doctors per 1,187 persons and 29,871 qualified nurses per 683 persons. Consultations are free in public hospitals while the cost of a visit to a specialist in a private hospital costs around LKR 1,500-2,000 or USD 12-15.

Aside from western and modern medical treatments offered by doctors, many people in Sri Lanka still use traditional medicine. The practice of Ayurveda (traditional) medicine is also supported by the government as part of the country's health care system, and there are even operated health clinics specializing in this traditional branch of medicine. Some of the Ayurveda medicine being used in Sri Lanka involves herbal healthcare and spa treatments.

Hospitals in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has a total of 593 government-owned hospitals and 197 private medical facilities. As mentioned earlier, the free universal healthcare of this country has resulted to long queues in public hospitals that's why private care has become a popular option not just for locals but also for expatriates. Most private hospitals are concentrated in major cities such as Colombo and its surrounding suburbs. Some of the most well-known private medical facilities in the country are:

3 Alfred Place, Colombo 3

Tel: +94 (0)11 214 0000

114, Norris Canal Rd, Colombo

Tel: +94 11 4 665500

23, Deshamanya H. K Dharmadasa Mawatha, Colombo 2

Tel: +94 (0) 11 55 77 111

578 Elvitigala Mawatha, Colombo 00500

Tel: +94 11 5 430000

18/A, Muhandiram E.D. Dabare Mawatha, Colombo 05

Tel: +94 11 5506000


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