HON. DR. RAJITHA SENARATNE
Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine
Dr. Rajitha Senaratne graduated from University of Peradeniya as a Dental Surgeon in 1974. He was a student leader and was the General Secretary of the Inter-University Students Federation from 1971 to 1973 and represented then Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in the Sri Lanka Delegation to the Asian Youth Conference 1973, Japan.
Dr. Senaratne held the post of Hon. Secretary of the Government Dental Surgeons Association for 14 years continuously from 1975 to 1989 and was a popular trade union activist. He was awarded the Fellowship of the International College of Continuous Dental Education in 1992.
Dr Senaratne represented Sri Lanka at the Asian Inter-Parliamentarians Conference on HIV / AIDS, Goa, India from its inception in 2008. He has also represented Sri Lanka at the International Medical Parliamentarians Conference, Bangkok in the years of 1995 and 1997.
As a Member of Parliament continuously for over 20 years, from 1994 to date, he has held many portfolios; Minister of Lands (2001 – 2004) , Minister of Construction and Engineering Services (2007 to 2010) and Minister of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources Development from April (2010-2014) and presently as Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine. As a Member of Parliament, he has represented both the Government and the Opposition. His oratory skills are well known.
As the Minister of Construction and Engineering Services (2007 to 2010) he was instrumental in The formulation of the “National Construction Policy” He initiated the project on desalination of Sea
sand for construction, under the Hungarian Tied Aid program. During his tenure Sri Lanka entered the overseas construction projects. He was also the architect of the successful “One hundred thousand housing project”.
As the Minister of Lands Dr Senaratne was responsible in formulating “The National Policy for Lands in Sri Lanka” and the introduction of an efficient, transparent land registration and titling system. The Land Data Bank he established facilitated issuance of 1.3 million ownership deeds to those occupying state land.
Soon after assuming duties as the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development in April, 2010, he embarked on a programme which increased the national fish production from 380,000mt in 2010 to nearly 590,000mt by 2014. His fisheries infrastructure development plan included the construction and upgrading of 29 fishery harbours island wide including the Dikowita Fisheries Harbour, the largest and most modern in South Asia. He was instrumental in establishing the domestic fish canning industry with 5 canneries and also setting up of the Peliyagoda Wholesale Fish Market.
Dr Senaratne’s commitment to sustainable utilization and management of resources was exemplified by his strong initiatives to eradicate Illegal, Unreported and Unregistered (IUU) fishing through both national and international initiatives including the introduction of a Vessel Monitoring System to all multiday boats in Sri Lanka.
At international level he has strengthened country’s rapport with the regional fisheries management organization, Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) setting up a strong base for the industry globally. In fact credit goes to Dr Senaratne for hosting the most successful and best attended IOTC sessions in Sri Lanka in March 2011 with the participation of 25 countries, followed by the Ministerial Meeting on Aquaculture for the Asia Pacific Region in July 2011. His dynamic, development oriented programmes have caught the attention of many countries and international organizations. His thought provoking key note address to the 11th INFOFISH World Tuna Trade Conference in Bangkok in September 2010 and contributions to FAO Council Sessions, FAO Trade and Aquaculture Sub Committees and various international forums have won much acclaim.
Dr Senaratne was again propelled to the limelight of politics towards the latter part of 2014 with his key role in the socio-political initiative in transforming the political landscape of the country. He was one of the key architects of the new Government established under HE Maithripala Sirisena in January 2015 espousing “Yahapalanaya” (Good Governance) and the “100 Day Programme”. Dr Senaratne serves both as the Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine as well as the Cabinet Spokesman of the new government. Steadfastly moving ahead with the initiative taken by HE the President Maithripal Sirisena when he was the Minister of Health, Dr Rajitha Senaratne successfully obtained Cabinet approval for the long-awaited National Medicinal Drugs Policy (NMDP) or the amended Senaka Bibile Drugs Policy, which will be presented to parliament shortly for approval.
Dr. Senaratne is married to Dr. Mrs. Sujatha Senaratne who herself is a Dental Surgeon and a Consultant Medical Administrator, presently serving also as the Private Secretary to the Hon Minister. Dr. Sujatha Senarathna has worked as a senior medical administrator in many national level health institutions including the National Hospital of Sri Lanka and the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children. She was working as the Additional Secretary (Public Health Services) at the time of her retirement from the service. They are blessed with two sons Chathura and Eksath.