President Maithripala Sirisena said that he reiterates the humble request made by him to the Maha Sangha of this country, seven years ago in 2012 as the Minister of Health with regard to offering of a healthy exemplary ‘deheth wattiya’ without slaked lime, dried- tobacco leaf and some pieces of areca nut to the Mahanayaka Theros.
The President pointed out that at present Sri Lanka is facing a huge challenge regarding mouth cancer as a result of products made out of dried-tobacco leaf and areca nut and further said that to overcome that challenge and to protect the nation from it health advice must be followed.
President Sirisena made these remarks addressing a programme held at the Apeksha Hospital in Maharagama today (01) to mark the World Oral Health Day.
The President said that even though the ‘deheth wattiya’ is a key component related to our Buddhist culture it should be transformed into a healthy ‘deheth wattiya’ as per the timely need of the country. The President also said that the main responsibility in this regard lies with the Buddhist community and pointed out the importance of Maha Sangha giving advice to the devotees in this regard.
World Oral Health Day (WOHD) is celebrated globally every year on 20 March. It is organized by World Dental Federation and is the largest global awareness campaign on oral health. WOHD spreads messages about good oral hygiene practices to adults and children alike and demonstrates the importance of optimal oral health in maintaining general health and well-being.
At present oral cancer has become a major public health problem. Chewing betel has been shown as a major cause of oral cancer, and therefore this disease is spreading to a large extent among men. Particularly people living in the hill country are suffering from oral cancer and due to this disease three people die daily in our country.
The President also emphasized the importance of giving priority for promotion of oral health considering it as a policy. He also emphasized the need to expand awareness programmes, including the establishment of counseling centers to help relieve addicts from chewing betel .
During this event the President offered exemplary ‘deheth wattiya’ without slaked lime, dried- tobacco leaf and some pieces of areca nut to the Maha Sangha.
Later, the President look into the well-being of the Oral Cancer patients who are being treated at the Apeksha Hospital in Maharagama.
The Chief Minister of the Western Province, Isura Devapriya, Secretary of the Ministry of Health Wasantha Perera, Prof. Carlo Fonseka, Director of the Hospital Specialist Dr. Wasantha Dissanayake and Consultant Dr Jagath Balawardana were present on the occasion.