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
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.
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 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.
AUSLMAT will visit Dr. Roshan in the cardiology unit at the Matara hospital on Wednesday 5th July when Dr. Jennifer and Dr. Omar Farouque will address the medical staff. AUSLMAT have previously made donations of medical equipment including hospital beds and a defibrillator.
Mahesh is a local from Kopiwatta Hakmana – Michelle Drieberg presented him with a laptop on one of our previous visits. We have also paid for his study in I.T. at a local campus.
Dr. Graeme Sloman A.O. A.M. E.D. FRACP, cardiologist at Epworth Hospital and his wife Isabel will be with the AuSLMAT medical team on our mission to Sri Lanka for 2017. Graeme was recently honoured with an Order of Australia for his services in cardiology.
He has visited Sri Lanka as a lecturer in cardiology many years ago. He will be with us at the teaching hospitals in Batticaloa and Galle and also assist at the medical clinics we will do at Valaichenai and Weligama. AuSLMAT is proud to have Graeme and Isabel with us on this visit to Sri Lanka from the 1st of July.
AUSLMAT, the Australia Sri Lanka Medical Aid Team, was born out of the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004. It was incorporated in 2005, but it wasn’t till 2016 that AUSLMAT was formally registered as a charity with the ACNC (Australian Charities for Not-for-profits Commission), and subsequently included on the ATO’s Deductible Gift Register (DGR). That means that AUSLMAT can now you issue you with a tax deductible receipt for donations made, and in turn, those donations will be recognised by the ATO when you make a claim as AUSLMAT is on the ATO’s deductible gift register.
Thanks to previous Secretary Michelle and current Treasurer Gordon for leading us to this very important milestone!
ARCHIVED ARTICLE – FOR UPDATE ON TRIP, SEE “NEWS“.
We’re “full steam ahead” for the next visit commencing 01 July. Below is a map showing our anticipated journey. The towns, clinics, orphanages and hospitals, along with the accommodations and transport plans are listed below. This is one of the most important and fulfilling services we perform, so your contributions in the form of donations (hard goods and financial), and participation on a trip such as this, is highly encouraged. If you are interested in a wonderful hands-on experience, please call our President Quintus DeZylva at +61 3 9553 0120 or +61 (0)411 465 656.
Dr. Dilshani Jayawardena and her husband Shiran and daughter Tanesha will be part of AUSLMAT’s next visit to Sri Lanka from the 1st of July this year. Dilshani will complete her postgrad work in endocrinology this year and might go on to do her Ph.D next year.
She will give the final year medical students a lecture on diabetes in Professor Kithsiri Pathirana’s ward at Karapitiya hospital and also arrange for the general medical clinic at Weligama on Thursday 6th July. The clinic will be conducted at the Hemachandra Mahavidyalaya at Madugamuwa in Weligama – a school built by her late grandfather Hemachandra Gunasekera. We will visit her family home after the clinic for some refreshment.
As a further not to the trip…………….AUSLMAT will have cardiologists, an intensive care specialist, geriatricians, diabetic educators and a trainee surgeon on this trip to Sri Lanka. Associate Professor Omar and Dr. Jennifer will address the medical staff at the Matara hospital on Wednesday 5th July on the “Current Management of Heart Failure”. Cardiologist Dr. Arulnithy will be our host at Batticaloa General Hospital and whilst at Amaya Beach Passikudah we will also visit the Ozanam Centre for differently abled children and do a general medical clinic at Valaichennai with the assistance of Earl Barthelot and Sanjaya Norbert.
AUSLMAT was formed soon after the Asian tsunami of Boxing Day 2004 and have continued to support hospitals in capacity building and children in English and computer studies. Waruni, Pushpika, Nishaji, Anjala, Oshadi and Anudhi are some of the children who will visit us at Unawatuna on Wednesday 5th evening.
Dr. Upali Mendis, Rankiri and Mahesh will assist us when we work in southern Sri Lanka