Health System and EPI Program

In Sri Lanka, both public and private sectors provide health care. The public sector provides free health care for nearly 60% of the population. The Department of Health Services and the Provincial Health Sector, Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition, encompass the entire range of preventive, curative and rehabilitative health care provision. The Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) has been in operation since 1978. The Ministry's Epidemiological Unit and the Family Health Bureau are jointly responsible for the implementation of the EPI. Immunizations are delivered through 8 provinces, 26 health districts and 285 health divisions, each of which reports EPI indicators weekly. National EPI program activities are regularly reviewed at the Inter agency Coordinating Committee chaired by Secretary of Health.


Over the period 2006-2011, Gross National Income (GNI) in Sri Lanka increased from $1,350 to $2,580 per capita, making it a GAVI-graduating country. According to the WHO/UNICEF-Joint Reporting Form (JRF) Database, government expenditures on average are $23 per infant. Expenditures for 2008 and 2011 have not been reported, making it difficult to truly observe the trend in government expenditures on routine immunization. In 2009, expenditures decreased $5.7 million from the last reported expenditure in 2007. But the subsequent year Sri Lanka reported spending $12.4 million on routine immunization, accounting for an $8.4 million increase from what was allocated the previous year. Government expenditures have increased since its decline in 2009. 

Click to download Sri Lanka's 2006-2013 Reported Government Expenditures on Routine Immunization updated 09/2014


Sri Lanka is a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Sri Lanka is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. The president, directly elected for a six-year term, is head of state, head of government, and commander in chief of the armed forces. The president appoints and heads a cabinet of ministers responsible to parliament. The president's deputy is the prime minister, who leads the ruling party in parliament. A parliamentary no-confidence vote requires dissolution of the cabinet and the appointment of a new one by the president. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. Since decennia the party system is dominated by the socialist Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the conservative United National Party.

The parliament is unicameral and has 225 members, elected for a six year term, 196 members elected in multi-seat constituencies and 29 by proportional representation. The president may summon, suspend, or end a legislative session and dissolve parliament. Parliament reserves the power to make all laws. The Committee on Public Accounts provides oversight for immunization and other government programs.

Immunization-related Legislation

Laws relating to compulsory vaccination (against smallpox), referred to as Vaccination Ordinances, date back to 1886.

Health is treated as a right to be provided through Provincial Councils (Provincial Council Act, 1989).

View Sri Lanka’s progress on immunization legislation here.

Showcasing Sri Lanka's Progress in 2013

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Program Activities:

  • July 2012: Sri Lankan peer exchangers attended the 4th Asian Sub-regional Symposium and Second Sub-national Parliamentary Briefing in Cambodia
  • September 2012: SPO Devendra Gnawali is working with Sri Lankan counterparts to finalize the country’s Immunization Policy
  • June 2013: MOH of Sri Lanka approved the draft Immunization Policy.

View All Program Activites Here