New Hospital – a boon to children

The Sevanagala Divisional Hospital is a second home for little Sithumini (5). She spends a few days every month in the children’s ward for nebulising. An attack of Malaria when she was small has resulted in this little girl su­ering from frequent wheezing bouts for which her mother rushes her to the closest hospital. “This is very convenient. Otherwise I would have to take her to Embilipitiya (12 km away),” she says.

Situated in close proximity to several densely populated areas, the Hospital caters to over 60,000 people and is accessed by people from neighbouring divisions as well.

“But the hospital lacked many facilities to cater to the medical needs of the people,” says Dr. Chaminda Withana, “It is only after World Vision began to work in this area that the hospital facilities improved.”

There was no children’s ward before and children had to share the same ward as the adults. In an innovative move, World Vision renovated an old disused storeroom and changed it into a colourful children’s ward with ten beds.

“There was no place for outpatients to sit and I remember how mothers used to carry their children and stay under trees – avoiding the hot sun and occasional rain too – waiting for their turn. There was hardly space for the doctor too. He treated patients in a small room behind the main building,” said Dr. Withana.

All that has changed now: The hospital has a new building with a large waiting area for the patients, equipped with toilets and a more spacious room for the doctor.

“World Vision has also gifted the hospital with medical equipment and necessary furniture as well,” says the doctor, “The nebuliser is very useful as many children suffer from wheezing in this area. Because of the generator we received we are able to treat them even if there’s a power failure.”

An intercom system installed in the hospital helps doctors to be informed when a patient needs urgent medical attention. “It makes our work a lot more efficient and easy. Otherwise sta­ff have to come looking for us to give the message,” he says.

The hospital has 30 staff including four doctors. “We have enough facilities now to cater to the patients,” says Dr. Chaminda.

Among its many health initiatives in Sevanagala, World Vision has conducted mobile medical clinics for children, health awareness programmes and has assisted the Medical Offi­ce of Health with knowledge and equipment needed to serve the community more effectively.