Author Archive

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

Join with AUSLMAT to “Heal Our Nation”

Sri Lanka imports around 85% of its medical supplies. But with foreign currency reserves running low, doctors across the country say hospitals are running out of medicines and essential supplies as the country’s economic crisis worsens. We are working in partnership with the global fundraising network #MedicalHelpSL to raise funds for essential medicines and medical items and sending them to hospitals in need.

You can help:

KEEP KIDS IN SCHOOL (KKS) PROJECT SUMMARY

The KKS (Keep Kids in School) project was initiated in June 2020, with the aim of providing financial assistance to a group of vulnerable children living in remote villages around Tissamaharama in Sri Lanka. The children supported by the KKS project belong to families of labourers, farmers, street vendors and daily wage earners who have been struggling to survive in the past couple of years due to financial hardships. Children in these families are sometimes forced to leave school or earn a living, the opportunity to finish their school education being stolen from them. The aim of the KKS project is to ensure that these children remain in school until they complete school up to the A/Level examination, by having some of their educational costs met by sponsorship.

The cost to sponsor one child is AUD 10/= a month and 100% of donations go towards school expenses such as books, stationary, uniforms and shoes. There are no administrative costs involved.

page2image11156720

The project is locally coordinated by Mr. Hilary Mathiasz, an English teacher in Tissamaharama, and the local bookshop owner, Mr. Sandeep Vidushan. A file with receipts is maintained for each child, and copies of receipts are also provided to each child as well. Sponsors are encouraged to maintain personal contacts with the students they are sponsoring, and we plan to receive annual feedback including the school academic report , which would be an incentive for the students to perform well and stay motivated.

June 2020- Dec 2021 BUDGET SUMMARY:

June 2020 – December 2020 Jan 2021 – June 2021
July 2021 – Dec 2021
Extra funds for computers

TOTAL REVENUE

AUD 2,180 (plus Rs. 30,000 paid in SLR) AUD 4,910
AUD 4,460
AUD 600

AUD 12,150

TOTAL EXPENDITURE AUD 9,726 ( July 2020 – Dec. 2021)

Rs. 5000/= was spent for each of the 57 students June 2020-Dec 2020.
Rs. 15,000/= was spent for each of the 90 students from Jan 2021 – Dec. 2021.

(The balance from 2020-2021 has been allocated to purchasing computers for a computer class)

We are aiming to spend 20,000 per student in 2022

NB: AUSLMAT accounts including the KKS program is externally audited by Danber Financial Services Pvt. Ltd.

Community Assistance:

In addition to the KKS program, some of the sponsors have kindly contributed to several projects, which have enabled these families to earn a living during difficult times. These include:

  1. Assistance to establish irrigation systems for farmers
  2. Establishment of an aloe vera cultivation
  3. Purchase of sewing machines and fabric
  4. Medical assistance to children with chronic illness
  5. Financial assistance for vocational training
  6. Financial assistance to single parent family without an income

Free classes in IT, Math and English
– Via Zoom, conducted by tutors (University students) from Melbourne

 

See our PDF format here:

KEEP KIDS IN SCHOOL SUMMARY 2021

Itinerary: SRI LANKA Trip August 2022

Itinerary: SRI LANKA Trip August 2022

 

Day 0: 16th Aug (Tuesday)

4:00 pm depart Melbourne Airport

10:30 pm arrive Katunayake Airport, Sri Lanka

Stay night in Negombo

 

Day 1: 17th Aug (Wednesday)

Drive to A’Pura (4 hours) en route Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

Visit Anuradhapura Hospital
Stay the night in A’pura

 

Day 2: 18th Aug (Thursday)

Visit Rajarata Uni AM Drive to Jaffna
Stay in Jaffna

 

Day 3: 19th Aug (Friday)

Visit Jaffna hospital / sight seeing

Stay in Jaffna

 

Day 4: 20th Aug (Saturday)

Drive back to A’pura

Sight seeing
Stay at …………

 

Day 5: 21st Aug (Sunday)

Sigiriya / Dambulla rock temple

Minneriya elephant park or sight seeing

Stay in Pollonnaruwa

 

Day 6: 22nd Aug (Monday)

Drive to Dehiattakandiya (1 hour from Polonnaruwa)

DK hospital visit

Clinic in DK

Stay the night in DK

 

Day 7: 23rd Aug (Tuesday)

Drive to Kandy ( 3 hours)
Visit Digana hospital en route

? Peradeniya Teaching Hospital

Pera botanical gardens / Kandy town / Stay in Kandy

 

Day 8: 24th Aug (Wednesday)

Ella train ride (Ella Odyssey) from Kandy to Ella
Ella sight seeing Ravana falls / Ravana caves / Little Adam’s peak Stay in Ella 98 Acres

 

Day 9: 25th Aug (Thursday)

Ella sight seeing

Drive to Tissa (2 and a half hours) ? can drive through Yala

Stay in Tissa

 

Day 10: 26th Aug (Friday)

Clinic in Tissa

Meet KKS kids

Stay in Tissa

 

Day 11: 27th Aug (Saturday)

Drive to Karapitiya

Karapitiya hospital (PM)
– Visit Galle Forte, Stay in Galle

 

Day 12: 28th Aug (Sunday)

Karapitiya hospital (AM)
Drive to Udawalawe (1 and a half hours)

Udawalawe National Park safari
Stay night in Udawalawe

Visit Digana hospital en route

 

? Peradeniya Teaching Hospital

 

Day 13: 29th Aug (Monday)

Drive to Colombo

En route attractions: Padukka hospital (where the freezer was donated) and Pilapitiya Ayurveda Hospital
Stay in Colombo

 

Day 14: 30th Aug (Tuesday)

Spend in Colombo , visit Ministry of Health
– Port City, Old Dutch Hospital
– Fly back to Melbourne, arriving in Melbourne at 2.30pm on the 31st

 

WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

 

Please join AUSLMAT to provide critically needed medical supplies to Sri Lanka

Thank you to all those who have offered to join AUSLMAT in helping the collapsing health system in Sri Lanka during the current economic crisis. Government hospitals are fast running out of a number of essential medicines and surgical supplies, leading to the loss of innocent lives.

The Medical Supplies Division (MSD) has published a list of urgently required medicines.

Please click the link to see the Diplomatic Letter with Urgent List.

Many of you may have received direct requests from the hospitals.  Surgeries are being cancelled due to shortage of anaesthetic drugs, and lives lost due to the shortage of clot dissolving drugs like Streptokinase, given to people with acute strokes and heart attacks.

Our plan is to purchase medical equipment, such as neonatal/paediatric breathing tubes, and air-freight them to Sri Lanka. We are also exploring the option of purchasing a few essential medicines directly from the pharmaceutical companies that regularly supply Sri Lanka. All items will be sent to individual hospitals with critical needs and the President of the Sri Lankan Medical Association (Prof. Samath Dharmaratne) has agreed to take the responsibility of overlooking the distribution of the supplies locally.

You can donate by clicking the DONATE NOW button at the top of the page.

A tax receipt will be automatically generated for tax purposes within Australia. Our finances are externally audited at the end of each financial year. AUSLMAT is an ACNC registered not-for-profit medical charity in Australia.

Thank your for your valuable contributions!

Discover more about AUSLMAT by joining our newsletter