A representative consortium of over 60 Sri Lanka’s most leading indigenous medical practitioners at the invitation of the Health Ministry and Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) who assembled at Rajagiriya NOCPCO this afternoon (5 April), were invited to immediately explore possibilities of finding an alternative traditional medicine to cure COVID-19 pandemic through age-old ‘Hela Wedakama’, practised for many centuries in the island-nation in keeping with ‘Ayurveda’ and ‘Siddha’ systems.
The joint gesture, mooted by the Ayurvedic Medical Council (AMC) at the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine, NOCPCO and General (retd) Daya Ratnayake, former Commander of the Army and Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority was co-chaired by Hon Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Mrs Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Head of the NOCPCO and Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army.
General (retd) Daya Ratnayake at the outset after NOCPCO Head welcomed the Minister and the gathering told the objective of the assembly tracing historical and ancestral roots that testify to the herbal and indigenous expertise, the country has had possessed down the generations, and how it had effectively cured people using exotic herbal medicine mixtures, concoctions, etc and other healing practices. A presentation, submitted by Ayurvedic practitioners explained how indigenous medical practices could be applied in the treatment of this deadly epidemic and other associated preventive measures, inclusive of the conduct of precautionary, curative and post -treatment phases of the indigenous practices, etc. Those leading practitioners were unanimous in finding a permanent medical solution to the deadly pandemic and pointed out how such practices could be applied with precision.
Minister Ms Wanniarachchi and Lieutenant General Silva towards the end of productive discussions and deliberations urged the gathering to find an alternative indigenous medicine at the earliest, identical to how China has now discovered. Lieutenant General Silva further asserted that armed forces in consultation with the Health Ministry would do everything possible to facilitate its production process, if at all such attempts proved successful.
Ven Dhamma Dammissara Thero, leading Ayurvedic practitioners, Commissioner of Ayurveda, Mr Chatura Kumarathunga, State Secretary of Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine, Mrs Vijitha Senevirathna, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Health, Mrs H.W. M Pushpalathamenike, Deputy Director of Health Ministry, Dr T Weerarathna, Convener, National Committee for Provincial Ayurveda Commissioners, Medical Specialist, Dr Anil Jasinghe, Director General Health Services, Major General (Dr) Sanjeewa Munasinghe and Senior Officers were present during the discussion.
Ancient inscriptions on rock surfaces reveal that organized herbal medical services have existed within the country for centuries and Sri Lanka claims to be the first country in the world to have established dedicated hospitals with the capability of performing surgeries even for the animals. The rock, Mihintale still has the ruins of what many believe to be the first hospital in the world. Historically, the Ayurvedic physicians enjoyed a noble position in the country’s social hierarchy due to their royal patronage.
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