Lack of funds hurts NorthEast Health services
[TamilNet, Monday, 26 January 2004, 12:41 GMT]
"Provincial Health Ministry is unable to fund rehabilitation of damaged hospitals or to make permanent more than 2065 volunteer health service workers who have been helping the hospitals for the last 15 years without any wages. Basic health service provision to people of NorthEast is deteriorating to dangerously inadequate levels," said Dr.M.Kumaravetpillai, Commissioner of Health Services of NorthEast.
"Two decades of war has destroyed many hospitals. In Liberation Tigers controlled areas of Vakarai, Pullumalai, Unnichchai and Karadiyanaaru areas in Batticaloa district efforts are underway to rennovate damaged hospitals. However, work is being delayed by the inability of the Sri Lanka Government to provide adequate funds.
"For example, Vakarai hospital is in urgent need of repair. Although Rs.1500m has been allocated for work on the hospital delays in disbursement of funds have affected progress in renovation.
"There are also problems in attracting trained personnel to work in hospitals in disadvantaged areas. Health service workers often use their influence to annul transfers to disadvantaged areas. Recently 179 new doctors were appointed to work in these hospitals. Majority of them refused to take up appointements.
"Also, foreign funding agencies are reluctant to provide funds to hospitals which cannot attract trained staff.
"Our politicians should work hard to pressure the Sri Lanka Government provide additional funding. Vellaveli region is in urgent need of a health office. Although there is adequate health services available in Valaichenai, recently a new Health office was established in the nearby Muslim village of Ottamavadi. This clearly illustrates that funds are still available and our Parliamentarians should articulate our needs and pressure the authorities more," said Dr.Kumaravetpillai.