Currently in Sri Lanka and around the world, more attention and resources are diverted towards curative care as opposed to secondary prevention. Such conditions compromise a woman’s quality of life including their sexual and reproductive health. Hence, improving services for women’s health issues to reduce mortality and morbidity is a crucial step forward.Identifying the need for collaborative action, the Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched the National Strategic Plan (2019-2023) for the Well Woman Programme in Sri Lanka. The strategy aims to ensure by 2023 that every woman in the targeted age cohorts, especially those farthest behind, have benefited from quality health services through the Well Woman Clinics around the country.
The Strategic Plan comes at a critical moment in the battle against cervical cancer. Technological advances reveal that primary prevention of cervical cancer is possible through HPV vaccinations and secondary prevention is possible through HPV testing. At the launch, Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Director General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, stated, “An objective of the strategic plan is to shift from cervical cytology tests to HPV testing as a more effective method for cervical cancer screening. In 2017, we introduced HPV vaccinations for girls in Grade 6. We are confident that HPV vaccination and screening for HPV will pave the way for the elimination of cervical cancer in the country”.