International audience in US updated on Sri Lanka’s initiatives to develop indigenous medicine
Washington, Sep 7, 2012: Hon. Nandimithra Ekanayake, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Sri Lanka briefed a gathering of international medical professionals in the United States on the steps taken by the Government to advance professionalism in the field of indigenous medicine in Sri Lanka.
The minister highlighted that the policy derived from “Mahinda Chintana”, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s vision for the country has given equal importance to both Western & Indigenous medical sectors. He explained how ensuing programs to; expand research facilities and treatment centers, promote Ayurvedic medicine among tourists , support medical plant cultivations and also, those aimed at human capital development such as introduction of better pay scales and pension programs have reinvigorated the indigenous medical sector.
Minister Ekanayake made these remarks at the Fourth International Conference on Medicinal Plants & Herbal Products held at Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, Rockville on Thursday (September 6) .
Furthermore, the Minister pointed out the necessity of developing new knowledge in the field through research work.
“One thing I would like to stress here is, even though Sri Lanka and India are having fully equipped research institutions for indigenous medicine , the outcome is very minimal. Most of the practitioners prescribed medicines based on the prescriptions come from Ola Leaf Books written hundreds of years back. They never change a single item of herb given on these Ola leaf prescriptions.”, he said.
“It is very essential especially in this scientific era to attend to laboratory tests and research to improve the quality of these drugs and treatments”, he added.
Deputy Minister Ekanayke was honored with the Olive Life Sciences Merit of Excellence Award in recognition of his dedication, devotion and contributions globally for the promotion of Ayurveda & Medicinal Plants Education in Sri Lanka.
The conference was organized by George Washington University, USA in collaboration with University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, S.V. University, India, International Council for Medicinal and Aromatic plants (ICMAP),Biotechnology Center, USA, Embassy of India, Washington D.C., and Amarex Clinical Research, Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd, India.
The aim of the Conference which is held from 6-8 September is to provide a platform for eminent researchers, academicians, physicians, traditional medical practitioners, manufacturers & exporters of herbal products, representative of the corporate sector, marketing consultants and NGOs worldwide.
Led by Minister Ekanayake, the Sri Lankan delegation to the conference included Dr. Udara Attapattu, Dr. R A R Susantha and Mr. Ramesh Joseph.
Ambassador Jaliya Wickrmasuriya met the delegation at the Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC on Friday (September 7) to discuss initiatives to be taken to promote Sri Lankan Indigenous medicine in the United States.
The medical professionals underscored Sri Lanka’s potential to be a leading destination for health and spiritual tourism. Having already won a reputation for hospitality and kindness of its people influenced by Buddhist virtues, Sri Lanka can confidently bring its indigenous medicine to the international domain, they opined. However, they averred the need for obtaining proper accreditation, mapping aged old practices with modern standards and the cooperation with international bodies to achieve this objective.
Ambassador Wickramasuriya assured the mission’s support for their efforts and proposed the officials to organize an Ayurvedic exhibition in the United States in collaboration with the embassy.
Minister Ekanayke thanked the Ambassador and the Embassy staff for all the assistance given to make their visit to the US a success.
Visiting Sri Lankan Delegation Deputy Minister of Higher Education Hon. Nandimithra Ekanayake(3rd from left ), Mr. Madawa Wattegama (far left), Dr. Udara Attapattu (2nd from left), Mr. Ramesh Joseph (2nd from right), and Dr. R A R Susantha (far right) with H.E. Mr. Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lankan Ambassador to the U.S. and Embassy officials at the Embassy of Sri Lanka, Washington (Sep 7).