President Mahinda Rajapaksa instructed Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena to establish a special health protection plan for all monks and priests belonging to all religions to protect their health, a Health Ministry spokesman said.
He said all religious leaders throughout the country attend to various religious and public duties ignoring their health and as a result many have become victims of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), especially diabetes and high blood pressure.
The spokesman said during public service, they do not have a choice but eat anything offered to them by the public. “Most of the time, the public add more sugar to the food prepared and offered to the religious dignitaries out of reverence and respect.
The Health Ministry will implement a special health programme for religious clergy and dignitaries all over the country,” quoting the Health Ministry spokesman Daily News reported.
This special health programme is aimed at offering a full physical check-up for the clergy to ensure their health and well-being. They will be provided transport to visit specially designated locations where clinics will be held offering medical check-ups such as Lipid Profile, Body mass Index, etc, he said.
Healthy menus have also been introduced by the Health Ministry to the public when preparing dana.
The special health clinics will be organized on a district basis allowing religious dignitaries to visit them easily. The first step of this programme was held at the National Eye Hospital yesterday to coincide with the National Vesak Festival 2013 where a full eye check-up, free lenses, surgeries and spectacles were offered to clergy and religious dignitaries, the spokesman said.