3RD LEAD

Medical, health crisis looms in Ki'linochchi

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 October 2008, 12:01 GMT]
120 refugees were admitted after snake-bite during the past 7 days alone in Ki'linochchi district's hospital functioning at Tharmapuram. One of the patients, a girl, has died and another, a 53-year-old woman, was being treated at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital, according to Dr. P. Brighton, the assistant Deputy Provincial Director of Health (DPDH) on Tuesday. He said three lorries with urgently needed medicines to treat snake-bite and diarrhea have not entered Vanni despite three repeated attempts to cross the entry/exit point at Oamanthai in Vavuniyaa. Meanwhile, ambulance-transport for patients in need of urgent medical treatment at Vavuniyaa hospital has become increasingly difficult.

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Patients waiting outside the hospital at Tharmampuram in Ki'linochchi


A 13-day-old baby with urgent complications died Saturday night as the ambulance carrying the new-born failed to make it to Vavuniyaa Friday morning.

The hospital was overloaded with more than 300 inpatients and 800 to 1200 outpatients were seeking medical help on a daily basis. Patiens were seen lying on the floor in all the corridors of the hospital.

Many IDPs had moved into the area between Pu'liyampokka'nai and Visuvamadu in Puthukkudiyiruppu in the recent weeks.

Acute shortage of drinking water has already precipitated a crisis resulting in the development of various water borne ailments. Health officials said the fresh water and sanitation in the region has become a major problem causing infections. 95 percent of the internally displaced do not have proper latrine facilities, according to local NGO workers who were engaged in constructing temporary toilets.

An average of 50 IDPs, most of them children were being treated due to diarrhea and other water borne diseases at the hospital on a daily basis during the last week.

There were only five water bowsers supplying drinking water to the internally displaced people. Acute shortage of fuel was also hampering their limited service.

In addition many people have sought treatment for a variety of skin diseases including eczema and medical personnel are puzzled as to the cause of development of such diseases. One possible source for the illness could be due to shallow waters being used for bathing.

Road accidents were also on the increase as IDPs were densely populated in the region. More than 10 road accidents were reported on a daily basis and children were becoming affected by the accidents. Recently, a girl died at the hospital after a road accident, Dr. Brighton said.

The ICRC was actively engaged in the process of acquiring 10,000 shelters for the IDPs, according to the Government Agent of Ki'linochchi district.

As the rain has started falling, living in the open has become out of the question and the authorities have already become concerned about providing adequate shelter for these suffering people.

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Patients lying on the floor in the corridors of the hospital at Tharmapuram
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