This Easter Sunday the lives of many Sri Lankans were thrown into chaos as multiple cities were bombed in terror attacks.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Sri Lanka, especially the victims of these horrific events, their families, and all those affected.
In response, AUSLMAT will be collecting donations, supplies and any other contributions towards our disaster response. We will meet in the coming weeks to discuss our response & any suggestions for how our efforts can be best directed are welcome.
Our 2019 Medical Mission is fast approaching, with a trip to Sri Lanka forecast for late June, early July this year. Given the joys and successes experienced by all in past trips, we open our arms to new attendees.
Our work in the past has included:
- Ongoing medical education at tertiary centres in Southern and Central Sri Lanka
- Resource provision (spectacles, hospital supplies, medication) in regional health services
- Diabetes education and screening
- Visits to community health centres, schools and orphanages
If you have skills or experience in delivering healthcare, a connection to Sri
Lanka or are just keen to get involved in our work, please contact us at:
Phone: 03 9553 0120
Direct (Dr Erosha Premaratne: president): 0437321105
We will be partaking in the Sri Lankan new years festival in Craigieburn this year. Join us for festivities on the 31st of March, and find out more about the good work AUSLMAT does for the Sri Lankan community abroad and our plans for 2019. Also, we will be offering advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and complimentary blood pressure and glucose checks. Come find us throughout the day.
AUSLMAT embarked on its annual trip to Sri Lanka at the end of June 2017. The group comprised 10 doctors, nurses and supporters, all from Melbourne. Of course, there were many other local people involved, including our drivers, interpreters and local supporters who helped to deliver our equipment and also provided well needed assistance at our clinics. We were also welcomed and supported by the local specialist doctors and nurses at the various hospitals and clinics we visited.
The trip commenced with Dr Quintus de Zylva and Dr Jennifer Johns being interviewed by Colombo TV station Derana. The interview explored the work done by AUSLMAT since the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and went to air a few days later.
The group congregated in Negombo and headed towards Batticaloa on the east coast, stopping in Dambulla overnight to enjoy the sights of Sigyria and Minneriya. At Batticaloa Teaching Hospital, endocrinologist Dr Dharshini Karrupiah, chaired a very successful half day conference, entitled “Caring for your patient with older age and diabetes.” Several AUSLMAT team members gave lectures, including geriatricians Dr Sanka Amadoru and Dr Rajni Joseph, intensive care specialist Dr Irma Belgrami and diabetes educator Ms Preethi De Silva. The meeting was very well-attended and there was excellent engagement by the local doctors and nurses. We delivered insulin syringes and diabetes monitoring equipment, kindly donated by medical supply company BD and by Preethi De Silva. Dr Jennifer spent a day with cardiologist Dr Kanagasingam Arulnithy, advising on some complex cardiac patients and delivering a transport ventilator, donated by Mr Max Nayagar, head of biomedical engineering at the Alfred Hospital.
The team visited Valaichennai District Hospital, which we have visited on several previous occasions. The staff do an excellent job of caring for the local community, especially in the areas of rehabilitation following stroke and psychiatry. However, the hospital is very under-resourced and struggles to cope with demand. We did a general medical clinic in Valaichennai, focussing on hypertension and diabetes. We were also performed eye-testing on several patients and were able to provide them with reading glasses donated by many of our supporters.
The next stop was Matara Hospital, where we renewed friendships with several colleagues, including cardiologist, Dr Roshan Gunaratne. Dr Jennifer consulted on several complex cardiac patients and gave a lecture on “Recent Advances in the Management of Heart Failure.” We have previously donated equipment such as defibrillators and ECG machines to the cardiac unit at Matara.
The team also visited Akuressa Hospital where we have previously donated medical equipment – wheelchairs, surgical equipment and wound dressings.
Associate Professor Omar Farouque from the Austin Hospital in Melbourne, spent the week in the catheter laboratory at Karapitiya Teaching Hospital. He supervised and supported the interventional team, headed by Dr Sathananthan. The team at KTH have become very skilled at coronary intervention over the past few years. Approximately 20 complex patients underwent procedures with stent insertions and many more patients will be treated over the coming months. Our heartfelt thanks to Jody Douglas from device company Terumo and Tamara Rapoport from Medtronics. They provided dozens of state of the art catheters, stents, guidewires and other interventional equipment for use in patients who could not afford their treatment in Sri Lanka.
Finally, a large general clinic was held in Weligama at the Hemachandra Maha Vidyalaya. More than 100 patients were seen by AUSLMAT doctors, assisted by Drs Piumika Jayawardena, Upali Mendis and Dharmapriya Wijesinghe from Sri Lanka.
It was a very busy and rewarding trip. There have been positive changes in Sri Lanka over the past 13 years, but there is still much more to do!
Please visit our photo gallery to see just a snippet of our work which many of you have so graciously contributed to in both time and money (for goods and transportation). If you feel compelled to contribute, or know anyone who does want to further our cause, please click on the DONATE NOW button above. We will gladly accept any level of assistance.
The 2017 MEDICAL MISSION went off without a hitch (well, maybe only a couple). A full report is under our NEWS section. Please make sure you see our PHOTO GALLERY for the clinics and seminars we conducted. THANK YOU again for all the donations that helped purchase and/or ship equipment and supplies to Sri Lanka.
AUSLMAT will visit Dr. Arulnithy at the cardiac unit on Monday 3rd July. We take cardiac catheters, stents, etc. to him on each of our medical mission visits. Puvithra from Mullativu will come for review when we are there in July 2017. She had an Atrial Septal Defect closed some years ago and has recently complained of shortness of breath again. Her mother and father come down with her and they have to stay overnight in Batti after a long trip by bus. We are grateful to a generous donor who will fund their transport and accommodation.
Dr. Arulnithy is the only cardiologist at the Batti hospital and we are happy to have supported him for some years.
AUSLMAT has received many spectacles as donations from Melbourne and Canberra. We will take them with us on our Medical Mission for 2017 and distribute them at clinics we conduct at Valaichennai and Weligama. We will have Dr Upali Mendis (ophthalmologist) and Dr Dharmapriya Wijesinghe with us and a band of many helpers who will help us in distributing these spectacles. We are grateful to the many clubs and individuals who collect spectacles for us – they are a much sought after gift in Sri Lanka. AUSLMAT will also have Dr Sanka and Dr Rajni – geriatricians from Melbourne – on this visit. They will participate in a morning discussion at the Batticaloa hospital on Monday 3rd July arranged by the endocrine unit at the hospital.
AUSLMAT has received spectacles from Melbourne and Canberra and soft toys from Operation Hope and Charlie Schokman.
Dr. Dilshani Jayawardena (endocrinologist) and Dr. Upali Mendis (ophthalmologist) will assist us in conducting a large clinic at Weligama on Thursday 6th July. We have had contact with Nishantha a fisherman from Weligama from the time of the tsunami and his daughter Nishaji will also assist us at the clinic at a local school hall arranged by Dilshani’s uncle.
We welcome any assistance at this clinic.
SHAMINDI is aged 14 and in grade 9. Her father is a chena cultivator and her mother a housewife. She met AUSLMAT at the Beralihela Medical Centre when we did a clinic with Dr. Eresha two years ago. She will join us to visit the Yala wildlife sanctuary on Tuesday 4th July. Her initial letter in January this year was written in English with the help of Hilary Mathiasz the English tutor for the whole village.
Beralihela and Tissamaharama are quite close to the Yala sanctuary. Many of these children have never visited the sanctuary because there is a fee to enter. They live close enough to hear the trumpeting of the wild elephants! AUSLMAT makes a stop-over at Yala from the east coast of Sri Lanka on each of our visits to Sri Lanka.
We support Mr. Hilary in his tutoring of these children in English. Poverty is no barrier to them learning to speak and write in English.
AUSLMAT will visit Sri Lanka from the 1st of July this year. We will visit the Batticaloa hospital where we work with Dr. Arulnithy the only cardiologist at Batticaloa.
We will also visit hospitals at Matara, Akuressa, Valaichennnai and the Karapitiya hospital in Galle . In addition to these hospital visits AuSLMAT will also see the differently abled children at the OZANAM Centre in Batticaloa and do a general medical clinic at Weligama where we will have the assistance of Dr. Upali Mendis who will conduct an eye clinic. We have a large amount of spectacles for distribution in Sri Lanka . We also see patients at Valaichennai whom we have treated previously.
Dr. Jennifer is shown here teaching doctors at the Hambantota hospital in the essential features of echocardiography.