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Medical Mission 2023

AUSLMAT “HEAL OUR NATION” PROJECT SUMMARY

In response to many requests received from medical specialists and the Ministry of Health, AUSLMAT initiated the Heal Our Nation project in April 2022 to raise funds for essential medical supplies for the public hospital system in Sri Lanka. With immense community enthusiasm and support, we have raised over AUD 237, 270 (over LKR 60 million) so far, from which we have purchased medicines and medical supplies worth 185, 301 (over LKR 46 million).

In addition, we have facilitated the purchase of over AUD 150,000 medical supplies for other fundraising organizations and individuals in partnership with the global consortium of donors, #MedicalHelpSriLanka. We have collaborated with other fund raising charities in Melbourne including “Suwayata Sawiyak” group in Melbourne to procure medicinal items for the Paediatric Liver Transplant Unit at North Colombo (Ragama) Teaching Hospital and Lady Ridgeway, “Ride for Apeksha” group to procure essential cancer medicines for Apeksha Hospital and other donor groups in purchasing medicines. We have facilitated to purchase of AUD 64,000 worth Streptokinase for a private donor.

AUD 237, 270 raised directly by AUSLMAT and purchased items > AUD 185, 301* Assisted other donors with purchases > AUD 150, 000 Transported and distributed donated medical equipment > AUD 100, 000 to hospitals

*NB: 100% of our donations are spent on the purchase of medicines and medical supplies, without any administrative /overhead costs.

Item Purchased Quantity Cost (AUD)
Fisher and Paykel RT 265 breathing tubes donated to 7 NICU units
140
$ 9 870.00
Fisher and Paykel Neowraps donated to 7 NICU units
260
$ 964.00
Phosphate phebra tablets donated to 7 NICU units
5000
$ 3 384.00
Fresenius Kabi triple blood bags *
1540
$ 14 638.00
Cefotaxime vials to Dehiattakandiya hospital
1000 vials
$ 7 424.00
Valproate tab 200mg to Dehiattakandiya hospital
36 000 tabs
Ceftriaxone vials for A’pura hospital
1000 vials
Ceftriaxone vials for various hospitals
10 000 vials
$ 3 515.66
Vygon central lines for NICU Units *
100
$ 11 437.17
Fisher and Paykel pediatric NIV masks for Sirimavo Hospital in Peradeniya and LRH
$ 1 880.00
Blood glucose / ketone strips **
1000
$ 959.80
Pediatric Suction catheters and IDC’s for Sirimavo Childrens’ Hospital and LRH
$ 284.00
Pediatric laryngeal masks for Peradeniya TH
100
$ 1 295.00
Blood pressure machines
$ 335.90
Dental equipment for De’attakandiya hospital
$ 1 935.79
Metronidazole, Erythropoietin and Sodium Valproate for many hospitals **
$ 41 360.00
Nitric Oxide cylinders for NICU units and LRH Cardiac Surgery Unit
5
$ 16 347.98
Nestle Isocal and Sustacal nutritional supplements for D’attakandiya hospital
$ 6 535.52
CAPD bags from Lucenxia, Malaysia
6600
$ 30 127.82
Cotton wool and Gauze for Eye Hospital / Karapitiya Hospital and LRH
$ 1 367.00
Nestle Sustacal and Isocal supplements for Hepatobiliary Unit, NHSL
$ 7 759.86
Sanitary napkins for Maternity Ward, Dehiattakandiya Hospital
$ 600.00
Surgical sutures for Hepatobiliary Unit, NHSL
$ 1 519.56
Piperazillin/Tazabactam for Hepatobiliary Unit, NHSL
200 vials
$ 769.48
CAPD bags from Lucenxia, Malaysia
3400
$ 16 457.14
ABG machine reagents for LRH Post Cardiac Surgery ICU
$ 4 534.75

TOTAL EXPENSES (so far)

$ 185 301.43

* These purchases were made in collaboration with #MedicalHelpSriLanka

** Medicines will be distributed to Negombo DH, Vavunia BH, Jaffna TH, Anuradhapura TH, Dehiattakandiya BH, Karapitiya TH, Chilaw DH, Karawanella BH, Kebathigollawa BH, Tissamaharama hospitals, NHSL, Sirimavo Childrens’ Hospital in Peradeniya and Methsewana Govn. Hospital

Coordination and distribution of donated equipment worth over AUD 100,000

  • Medical equipment donated by hospitals in Melbourne
  • Paediatric medical equipment donated by Dr. Nelu Simonz
  • Cardiac catheter equipment worth AUD 20,000 donated by Medtronic Australia

Pending purchases (currently in the process of obtaining quotes / NMRA approval / transport from India):

We are currently raising funds for the following projects, and any assistance with donations will be mostly appreciated.

1) Battery system for the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Sirimavo Children’s Hospital, Peradeniya-

The Cath lab at Sirimavo Children’s Hospital has ceased to function a couple of months ago due to the failure of the battery system. As reported by the Cardiology Unit there, this is blowing up patient waiting lists and putting the lives of paediatric patients at risk. The cost of battery replacement is LKR 3,477,452.80 (AUD 13,852).

2) Peadiatric equipment for Lady Ridgeway Post Cardiac Surgery ICU: USD 3651.37

3) Heparin x2070 (25,000unit) vials for Heamodialysis Units across SL: USD 5796

4) Peadiatric Oncology Medicine for Apeksha Hospital : USD 1843

5) Baby Intensive Care Unit requirements for Dehiattakandiya Hospital:

DAK hospital has a large Maternity Unit, however they do not have a facility at present to medically stabilize babies who are born unwell and transport them to a major Peadiatric Centre, which is leading to the loss of lives of newly born babies. AUSLMAT is planning to contribute to this project, which is estimated to cost around LKR 30 million in total.

AUSLMAT Sri Lanka Aid Mission Report 2022

After a long absence owing to the 2019 Easter Bombings and the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the AUSLMAT team were overjoyed to return on a medical mission to Sri Lanka from 16-30 August, 2022. Lead by AUSLMAT President Dr Erosha Premaratne and Vice-President A/Prof Andrew Cochrane, the team of 10 included doctors, a nurse and volunteers.

Over the course of the trip, the team visited 7 hospitals in predominantly regional areas of Sri Lanka; District Hospital (DH) Negombo, Teaching Hospital (TH) Anuradhapura, TH Jaffna, DH Dehiattakandiya, Sirimavo Bandaranaike Specialised Children’s Hospital (Peradeniya), TH Karapitiya (Galle) and Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital (Colombo).

Throughout the trip, the AUSLMAT team was able to distribute much needed medical supplies to various hospitals, including sutures and surgical supplies for the liver transplantation unit at Colombo North TH Ragama, diabetes testing equipment, gauze and cotton wool to Negombo DH, pediatric supplies and anaesthetic airway equipment to SBSCH Peradeniya and diabetes testing equipment to TH Anuradhapura. We donated dental supplies, diabetes testing equipment, cotton and gauze to DH Dehiattakandiya. A supply of coronary angioplasty stent and balloon catheters generously donated by Medtronic Australia was gifted to the Cardiology Unit at TH Karapitiya, in addition to Isocal nutritional supplements, diabetes testing equipment, gauze and cotton wool. A supply of cotton wool and gauze were also sent to the Eye and Ear Hospital in Colombo. In addition to these items, AUSLMAT has so far sent AUD 164,000 medicines and medical equipment to public hospitals in Sri Lanka since the beginning of the financial crisis in May 2022.

The team were able to review the implementation and operation of equipment previously donated and, and it was great to see this equipment being put to valuable use. This included Phillips G30 Cardiac Monitoring systems donated to TH Anuradhapura, and High Dependency Unit facilities installed at DH Dehiattakandiya during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community health clinics were conducted at Dehiattakandiya and Tissamaharama, where members of the medical team were able to provide endocrinology, obstetric medicine, cardiology and general medical consulting to the community members. At Tissamaharama, the AUSLMAT team met the grateful families of school children who had been supported with books and school equipment as part of the Keep Kids in School (KKS) sponsorship program.

The AUSLMAT team engaged in education sessions with medical and nursing staff at many of the hospitals visited. At TH Anuradhapura Emergency Department nurse Mr Bernard Robben and Emergency Doctor Dr Sayumi Jayasinghe gave an interactive teaching session on non-invasive ventilation which was well attended by nursing staff. The cardiac surgery team at Lady Ridgeway Hospital presented a series of complex congenital heart disease cases for discussion with A/Prof Andrew Cochrane. Dr Erosha Premaratne and Dr Nalin Dayawansa gave presentations on Diabetes and Heart Failure management at TH Karapitya in Galle hosted by the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA).

AUSLMAT president Dr Erosha Premaratne made multiple appearances in Sri Lankan media promoting the work that AUSLMAT has been doing, and highlighting the importance of swift Health ministry co-operation in releasing and distributing donated equipment.

The busy hospital visits were broken up with sightseeing days including visits to the Hindu and Buddhist temples of Nainativu (Nagadeepa), the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya, the scenic train ride from Kandy to Ella and safaries at Yala, Minneriya and Udawalawe National Parks. Our gratitude to Jetwing Ecotours for organizing out trip and for the supporting us throughout the trip.

Whilst the mission was a great success, there is always more work to be done. Amidst the ongoing economic hardship in Sri Lanka, many areas of need were identified where AUSLMAT and donors may be able to assist in the future. These include:

  • Replacement batteries for Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) system for the paediatric cardiac catheterisation laboratory at SBSCH Peradeniya – AUD $18,000
  • Purchase of an echocardiography machine and transoesophageal echocardiogram (TOE) probe to allow for increased cardiac surgery capacity at TH Jaffna – USD $59,000
  • Construction of a new cardiac catheterisation laboratory at TH Karapitiya, Galle – AUD $600,000
  • Construction of a new intensive care building at LRH, Colombo – USD 5 million.
  • Construction of a new coronary care unit (CCU) at TH Anuradhapura
  • Construction of new medical wards at DH Dehiattakandiya
 
Dr Nalin Dayawansa
Melbourne, Australia
10/11/2022
A/Prof Andrew Cochrane (Cardio-thoracic surgeon, Monash Heart) discussing complex paediatric cardiac surgery cases with Dr. Kanchana Slngappuli (Pediatric Cardiac surgeon) and other staff members of the cardiac surgery team at Lady Ridgeway Hospital.
Televised press conference discussing the work done by AUSLMAT on the 2022 trip. L to R Dr. Sayumi Jayasinghe, Mr. Bernard Robbens, Dr. Erosha Premaratne, Dr. Hashinee Weradurage, A/Prof. Andrew Cochrane and Dr. Nalin Dayawansa.
Mr Bernard Robben conducting a workshop on non-invasive ventilation with nurses at TH Anuradhapura
Community clinic at Tissamaharama
A warm welcome to Dehiattakandiya by the hospital staff and the local Indigenous community
Dr Erosha Premaratne and Dr Nalin Dayawansa with SBSCH Paaediatric Cardiologist Dr Sunethra Irugalbandara in the Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory at Sirimavo Bandaranayake Specialized Children’s Hospital, Peradeniya.

AUSLMAT Medical Mission – August 2022

AUSLMAT Medical Mission to Sri Lanka

16th - 30th August 2022

We (AUSLMAT- Sri Lanka Australia Medical Aid Team) are planning our seventeenth Medical Mission to Sri Lanka from the 16th – 30th August 2022. This is a great opportunity for doctors and allied heath professionals interested in contributing to the local health system and for students to get some first-hand experience in healthcare delivery in a developing nation. As you are aware, Sri Lanka is going through an extremely difficult time at the moment, and our support will no doubt be greatly appreciated.

Currently, we have a group of about 10 people interested in joining the trip, including a Cardiologist, Cardiac Surgeon, Endocrinologist, a dentist, a general practitioner and an ED physician from Australia and the UK.

Trip activities include:

  • Visits to Jaffna, Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital and Rajarata University, Dehiattakandiya base hospital, Peradeniya Teaching hospital, Karapitiya Teaching Hospital (where we will be conducting teaching/ training sessions and workshops).

  • Free community medical clinics at Dehiattakandiya and Tissamaharama.

  • Fun activities and sight seeing: Cultural triangle, Kandy, Ella (including the famous Ella to Kandy train ride) Yala wildlife sanctuary, Tissamaharama beaches, Galle Fort, turtle hatchery, Udawalawe national park,  Ayurvedic health centre.

Contact us to express your interest and for further information.

PS: Hotel bookings, meals and local transport organized by Jetwing Travels. USD 1,600 for double room occupancy, USD 2,500 for single room occupancy.  Fuel supply for this trip is guaranteed. Cost excludes airfares.

Please visit our photo gallery on www.auslmat.org to see 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 on almost every page of our website.  We will gladly accept any level of assistance.

AUSLMAT Medical Mission to Sri Lanka 16th – 30th August 2022

We (AUSLMAT – Sri Lanka Australia Medical Aid Team) are planning our seventeenth Medical Mission to Sri Lanka from the 16th – 30th August 2022. This is a great opportunity for doctors and allied heath professionals interested in contributing to the local health system and for students to get some first-hand experience in healthcare delivery in a developing nation. As you are aware, Sri Lanka is going through an extremely difficult time at the moment, and our support will no doubt be greatly appreciated.

Currently, we have a group of about 10 people interested in joining the trip, including a Cardiologist, Cardiac Surgeon, Endocrinologist, a dentist, a general practitioner and an ED physician from Australia and the UK.

Trip activities include:

  • Visits to Jaffna, Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital and Rajarata University, Dehiattakandiya base hospital, Peradeniya Teaching hospital, Karapitiya Teaching Hospital (where we will be conducting teaching/ training sessions and workshops).

  • Free community medical clinics at Dehiattakandiya and Tissamaharama.

  • Fun activities and sight seeing: Cultural triangle, Kandy, Ella (including the famous Ella to Kandy train ride) Yala wildlife sanctuary, Tissamaharama beaches, Galle Fort, turtle hatchery, Udawalawe national park,  Ayurvedic health centre.

Contact us to express your interest and for further information.

PS: Hotel bookings, meals and local transport organized by Jetwing Travels. USD 1,600 for double room occupancy, USD 2,500 for single room occupancy.  Fuel supply for this trip is guaranteed. Cost excludes airfares.

Please visit our photo gallery on www.auslmat.org to see 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 on almost every page of our website.  We will gladly accept any level of assistance.

AUSLMAT “Heal Our Nation” Project Update

In partnership with #MedicalHelpSriLanka

Last updated: 7th August 2022

In response to many requests received from medical specialists in public hospitals and the Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka, AUSLMAT has initiated the “Heal Our Nation” project to raise funds for medical supplies. Since the project was commenced in mid-April 2022, with immense community enthusiasm and support, we have so far raised over AUD 156,153 from which we have purchased the following equipment.

Item Quantity Cost (AUD)
Fisher and Paykel RT 265 breathing tubes donated to 7 NICU units
140
$ 9 870.00
Fisher and Paykel Neowraps donated to 7 NICU units
400
$ 964.00
Phosphate phebra tablets donated to 7 NICU units
5000
$ 3 384.00
Fresenius Kabi triple blood bags
1540
$ 14 638.00
Cefotaxime vials to Dehiattakandiya hospital
1 000 vials
$ 7 424.00
Valproate tab 200mg to Dehiattakandiya Hospital
36 000 tabs
$ 7 424.00
Ceftriaxone vials for A’pura hospital
1 000 vials
$ 7 424.00
Ceftriaxone vials for various hospitals
10 000 vials
$ 3 515.66
Nitric Oxide cylinders
5 cylinders
$ 16 138.44
Vygon central lines for NICU units
100
$ 10 951.00
Fisher and Paykel pediatric NIV masks for Sirimavi Hospital in Peradeniya and LRH
$ 1 880.00
Blood glucose / ketone strips
1000
$ 958.80
Paediatric suction catheters
$ 284.00
Paediatric laryngeal masks
100
$ 1 350.00
Blood pressure machines
$ 335.90

TOTAL EXPENSES (so far)

$ 71 693.80

Pending purchases (currently in the process of obtaining quotes / NMRA approval / transport from India):

  1. Medicines (Atracurium, Metronidazole, Erythropoietin and Sodium Valproate) –  for total cost of approximately AUD 50,000.
  2. CAPD solution bags for peritoneal dialysis patients – approximately AUD 30,000.

In addition, with the assistance of the global consortium #MedicalHelpSL, we have:

  • Coordinated the purchase and delivery of 4000 vials of Streptokinase, 20,000 vials of soluble insulin for other donor groups.
  • Assisting other fund raising teams to procure medicines and medical items for the Paediatric Liver Transplant Unit at North Colombo (Ragama) Teaching Hospital and Lady Ridgeway hospitals.

Coordination and delivery of donations worth over AUD 200,000:

AUSLMAT is currently coordinating the following donations and organizing delivery to Sri Lanka:

  • Paediatric equipment dinated from Dr. Nelu Simmons.
  • Medications donated by Generic Health.
  • Cardiac catheter equipment donated by Medtronic and Abbott, Australia.

Acknowledgements:

1000 vials of Cefotaxime and 36,000 tablets of Sodium Valproate for Dehiattakandiya Hospital handed over to Dr. Malaka Udugamage and team of doctors.

Donation of 1000 vials of Cetriaxone to A’pura hospital handed over to Prof. Sisira Siribaddana.

Donation of 1540 triple blood bags to the Blood Bank as a part of the donation of 5000 blood bags from #MedicalHelpSL.

Please visit our photo gallery on www.auslmat.org to see 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 on almost every page of our website.  We will gladly accept any level of assistance.

The AUSLMAT 2017 Medical Mission

Official Trip Report

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

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 on www.auslmat.org to see 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 on almost every page of our website.  We will gladly accept any level of assistance.

The AUSLMAT 2018 Medical Mission

Official Trip Report

The AUSLMAT medical mission to Sri Lanka commenced on 8 th of July 2018, with a scenic train journey from Colombo Fort to Hatton. The team was headed by Dr. Quintus de Zylva (Cardiologist from Melbourne) and comprised of 7 other doctors: Assoc. Prof Andrew Cochrane (Cardio-thoracic surgeon, Monash Health), Dr. Virginia de Vos (Psychiatrist, Melbourne), Dr. Erosha Premaratne (Endocrinologist, Austin Health), Dr. Sayumi Jayasinghe (Emergency trainee physician), Dr. Louise Marsh (GP from Margaret River, WA), Dr. Carolyn Barshall (GP from the UK) and Dr. Shannon de Silva (dentist from Melbourne). Preethi de Silva (Diabetes educator) and Hashan Fernando (Final year podiatry student) offered expertise in their respective fields.

There were many others in the team who helped to distribute equipment and also provided much needed assistance at the clinics. Dennis Mifsud and Samitha Disanayaka helped with crowd control and triaging at the clinics, while Genny Leeworthy assisted with triaging patients, interpreting and distributing spectacles. We had a number of students in the team whose contribution was invaluable. Nishaji, a local nursing student from Weligama, assisted with interpreting and various other tasks, and Gehan Premaratne, Sayumi Premaratne, Suvinya Disanayaka conducted glucose and blood pressure checks. Florence and Sophie Barshall helped Carolyn with BP checks and organising clinics. Carlos Mifsud and Sarah Smith assisted Louise similarly in the clinics. Dr. Shannon de Silva conducted dental clinics and Rochelle de Silva (primary school teacher) had the opportunity to spend time at one of the local kindergartens and distribute teaching material. Also our gratitude to the local people involved, particularly the drivers, interpreters and local organisers – particularly the Red Cross helpers at the busy Weligama clinic. We were so graciously welcomed and supported by the local medical and nursing staff and administrators at the various hospitals and clinics we visited.

Soon after arriving in Hatton, the group visited St. Gabrielle’s Boarding House in Hatton, the home to about 20 schoolgirls aged between 7 and 19. We were warmly welcomed by Sister Mary Immaculate, her church members and the happy and smiling faces of the young girls. The girls entertained us with songs and dances and were eager to share their stories and participate in games with the young ones in our group. Toys, stationary, clothes and treats were received with warm gratitude. The staff highlighted the need for urgent funds for building maintenance and ongoing requirements for study material for the students, some of whom have been orphaned or estranged from their parents.

The team conducted a general medical clinic at the Holy Rosary Church Hall in Hatton on the 9 th. The clinic was attended by approximately 150 people, presenting with various medical complaints; mostly chest infections, gastritis, asthma, skin problems, joint and foot problems and diabetes. Reading glasses, donated clothes and footwear were distributed. All attendees were also screened for diabetes and high blood pressure.

Following a picturesque drive around the Castlereigh reservoir, the team attended a clinic for over 70 Dunkeld Tea Estate workers on the afternoon of the 10 th . We were treated to a guided tour around the tea-processing factory before commencing the clinic. The health concerns of the estate workers evolved from long years of hard labour and poor living conditions. Most estate workers suffer from chronic back pain from heavy lifting, other musculoskeletal problems and malnutrition.

The team headed to the Bandarawela District Hospital early on the 11 th morning and was presented with the hospital statistics by the DMO, Dr. Leelananda Gallage. The hospital is under-funded and under-resourced in terms of medical and nursing staff to patient ratios, and is in dire need of being upgraded to a Base hospital in order to attract more government fund allocations. The emergency department alone attends to 600-700 patients a day, between 5 doctors! Pleasingly a new building is under construction and is expecting to contain the male and female medical wards, a paediatric ward and the emergency department. The lack of a cardiac service in Bandarawela was brought to our attention, and the potential for AUSLMAT to support the establishment of such a service was pledged by Dr. Quintus de Zylva. Professor Andrew Cochrane delivered a lecture on “Mitral valve disease” to the medical staff at the Diyathalawa Hospital.

The journey continued down south on the 12 th to the Denipitiya Kanishka Vidyalaya Grounds in Weligama, where we were welcomed with bouquets of flowers by young students and the gorgeous school band. Assisted by Mr. Savinda Samarakoon (a local optometrist who conducted eye checks and distributed spectacles) and Dr. Piumika Jayawardena, the team tirelessly reviewed over 400 people who presented with various medical complaints. Most attendees underwent blood pressure and random capillary glucose checks, revealing many cases of previously undiagnosed hypertension and diabetes. Lack of proper foot-ware use due to unaffordability and poor knowledge of foot care in the general population were identified as major problems leading to feet related complications in patients with diabetes and vascular disease.

We visited the Karapitiya Hospital on the 13 th . Here, Dr. Quintus de Zylva and Prof. Andrew Cochrane handed over AUD 10,000 dollars of cardiac equipment to Dr. Sathananthan at the Cardiology Unit. The equipment (cardiac catheters, balloons and stents) has been donated by Austin Health (organised by Prof. Omar Farouque) and by Dr. Jennifer Johns. The unit has also previously benefited from the donations of equipment and interventional cardiology training from the AUSLMAT team on many occasions. Dr. Erosha Premaratne delivered a presentation entitled “An approach to the care and follow up of diabetic patients” to the medical staff and students. Ms. Preethi de Silva presented a lecture to the local nurses and diabetes educators on the “Patient education on diet and diabetes management” and Mr. Hashan Fernando presented on “Foot care”. A large quantity of insulin pens, needles and glucose monitoring equipment was handed to Dr. Muditha Weerakkody in the Diabetes Dept. by Ms. Preethi de Silva and Dr. Erosha Premaratne. Resuscitation equipment was also donated to the Emergency Dept. by Dr. Louise Marsh.

The mission was concluded with an afternoon spent watching the Sri-Lanka- South Africa test cricket game held at the Galle stadium, and an evening walk along the Galle Fortress. To all of those who participated in the mission, it was a very busy, yet extremely rewarding experience. For those of us who had spent our childhoods in Sri Lanka, it was an opportunity to give back to our motherland even in a very small way, and for the young students in our team, it was a chance to realise their potential to make a difference in others’ lives. Many of the students promised to go back and assist in future medical missions.

Please visit our photo gallery on www.auslmat.org to see 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 on almost every page of our website.  We will gladly accept any level of assistance.

COVID Assistance for Sri Lanka: Project Report

The AUSLMAT SRI LANKA COVID ASSISTANCE APPEAL was initiated on the 30th of May 2021, in response to many requests received from public hospitals across Sri Lanka for medical assistance to combat the escalating COVID crisis.

With immense community enthusiasm and support, we have been able to raise a total of AUD 225,545 (Over 34 Million Sri Lankan Rupees), and distribute equipment worth over AUD 232,201 among 23 COVID treatment centres.

Read the full project report by clicking this link: Project Report

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