Japan donates Rs 8.9 million to upgrade Thellipalai hospital

[TamilNet, Friday, 25 February 2005, 22:26 GMT]
The Government of Japan today donated a sum of USD 90,204 (approximately Rs. 8.9 million) towards the "Project for Emergency Rehabilitation of Water Supply and Sewerage Systems at Thellipalai Hospital" in the Jaffna peninsula as a part of its continuous efforts in improving the emergency health care needs in areas where access to health facilities and services are insufficient.

Akio Suda, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka and R.M.S. Ratnayake, Provincial Secretary of Health, North-East Province signed the grant contract on Friday at the Ministry of Healthcare in Colombo.

Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva and S. Maligaspe, Secretary to the Ministry of Healthcare and M.S. Jayasinghe, Secretary, Ministry of Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation were present at the occasion. Chief Secretary, North-East Provincial Council and Government Agent Jaffna District also attended the ceremony.

A statement from the Japanese embassy said that the project was to be implemented by the North-East Provincial Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine.

The Thellipalai District Hospital, which was the second largest hospital in Jaffna is located 18 km from the Jaffna town was badly damaged during the conflict and is now functioning in a temporary rented building.

The damaged hospital is now being reconstructed by the Government of Sri Lanka under the North-East Emergency Relief Project, which includes facilities to treat cancer patients as well.

"However, due to budgetary deficiencies, the water supply system and the sewerage facilities were not included under the reconstruction programme. In order to restart functioning of the Hospital, the Government of Japan immediately responded to the request made by the Ministry of Health and confirmed its assistance for the emergency rehabilitation of water supply and sewerage systems at the Thellipalai District Hospital," the statement said.

"At present there is no cancer treatment center in the North-East and hence, all cancer patients are referred to hospitals in Anuradhapura, Kandy or Colombo. This has caused severe hardships for such patients who require long term and intermittent treatment. Further, people in these areas are faced with various social problems which have increased in magnitude after the tsunami disaster and also problems of dependency due to loss of life".

"Therefore, it has become a difficult task to transfer cancer patients away from their familiar surroundings for treatment to hospitals outside the region. In this context, setting up of a cancer unit in the North is an urgent need, but has so far being delayed due to lack of basic facilities for the hospital, such as water supply and sewerage facilities. In addition, the tsunami disaster many people were resettled in and around Thellipalai, thereby creating an additional demand for health care services".

"With the improvement to the water supply and sewerage facilities, it is expected that the hospital will be able to cater to the demand of the large number of people in Jaffna, Mannar, Trincomalee, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya and Batticaloa districts, and also dispense its services more efficiently," the Japanese embassy expressed it optimism in the statement.

 

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