Peacetime maternity deaths rise in Kilinochchi

[TamilNet, Friday, 18 April 2003, 19:30 GMT]
The medical facilities available in Kilinochchi during the current period of peace is worse than what was available during the war, medical officials in Kilinochchi said, quoting statistics from government officials that show that seven women died during their maternity care at hospitals in Kilinochchi in the last year.

The Kilinochchi district hospital was moved from its original location during the war, and is operating at Akkarayankulam, where 3 of the deaths occurred. The other 4 deaths occurred at the Pooneryn hospital.

Medical experts are of the opinion that death during maternity care is preventable, and the deaths are an indication of poor facilities available at the hospitals and generally in the region.

There is a ceasefire in the North-East, and the earlier ban on medicine, fuel and agricultural goods to areas not controlled by the Sri Lankan military has been completely lifted. Yet there has been no improvement in the transport facilities available to the hinterland, and the medical officials believe this is a major reason for the deaths.

Meanwhile, even as efforts for rebuilding of the original district hospital, destroyed during the war, are under way with funding from the Asian Development Bank, the North-East Emergency Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Plan (NEERRP) is taking action to temporarily operate the hospital at the same location, sources said.

Under the NEERRP plan, JAICA, a Japanese development organization, has come forward to build a maternity division and 6 doctors’ quarters, and to provide the necessary electricity generators, drinking water facilities, furniture and medical equipment. An agreement to this effect was signed Thursday at the Kilinochchi district secretariat. The Government Agent for Kilinochchi, Mr. T. Rasanayakam, and the Deputy Regional Director of Health, Dr. P. Sathyamoorthy signed the agreement on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka with Mr. Uchi Hatta, the planning officer of JAICA, sources said.

A detailed plan for constructing the buildings according to this agreement will be submitted for authorization at the next sitting of the NEERRP by the Japanese Ambassador in Colombo, the sources said.

kilinochchi_hospital.jpg

(Destroyed Kilinochchi hospital, Library photo)

 

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