Provision of basic health care is one of the prime responsibilities of the government with Maternal and Child Health constituting an important component of the health care system. An organised effort to provide maternal and child health services commenced with the introduction of the Health Unit System in 1926, Kalutara being the 1st health unit established with a Medical Officer of Health as the in charge.

In 1965 Government accepted family planning as a national policy and it was integrated with the already developed Maternal and Child Health services provided by the Ministry of Health.

Considering it's national importance, a separate division was established in 1968 within the Ministry of Health to implement the programme throughout the country. This was initially designated as the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and was later re-designated as the Family Health Bureau with an Assistant Director Maternal and Child Health as the head of the institution. The post of Assistant Director was upgraded to Director / Maternal and Child Health in 1986.

The first Director appointed was Dr Terence Perera (January 1968-December1970)." Since then the following successors had lead" the institution to its present thriving status.


Dr Terence Perera
(January 1968-December 1970

Dr. S.Y.S.B. Hearat
(May 1971 - February 1979)

 Dr. R.A.S. Rabel
(March 1979 - July 1981)

Dr. N.W. Vidyasagara
(August 1981 - October 1986

Dr. Malani de Silva
(November 1986 - October 1994)

Dr. K.P. Wickramasooriya
(November 1994 - April 1998)

Dr.  Vineetha Karunaratne
(March 1999 - July 2008)
Dr. Deepthi Perera
(January 2009 - June 2014)
Dr. Hemantha Benaragama
(June 2014 - May 2016)


Ensuring a satisfactory level of health of its population is a major concern of the Govrnment of SriLanka. Hence, timely amendments of its health strategies according to the updating health concepts have been done. Primary Health Care approach received a greater impetus after Sri Lanka became a signatory to the Health Charter of 1980, committing herself to the accomplishment of Health for All by the year 2000. Family Health Services constitute an important component of the Primary Health Care service strategy adopted by the Government of Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994 has introduced the concept of reproductive health extending a life cycle approach to family health. Thereafter, the  Family Health Bureau took lead in the implementation of the national Family Health  programme in close collaboration with other national programmes & stakeholders 

A Population and Reproductive Health Policy was formulated which was approved by the National Cabinet of Ministers in August 1998. The policy aimed at achieving a higher quality of life for its people by providing quality reproductive health information and services, achieving gender equality, providing health care and social support for the elderly, promoting the economic benefits of migration and urbanization while controlling their adverse social and health effects and reaching a stable population size in the long term. In the context of these policies and the earnest desire to accomplish higher standards of living and acceptable levels of health: maternal health, child health, family planning and other women's health issues have received considerable emphasis.