IOM Supports Sri Lanka's Health Care System in Former Conflict Areas Ahead of Monsoon

Posted: 
10/28/10

IOM yesterday handed over essential drugs and medical equipment
worth LKR 2 million (USD 18,000) to the Regional Director of Health
Services of Mullathivu for distribution to 10 village health
centers and seven divisional hospitals in the war-affected northern
district.

Since May 2009, IOM, in partnership with the Ministry of Health,
has provided primary health care services to more than 206,000
internally displaced people (IDPs) in northern Sri Lanka, mainly in
Vavuniya's Menik Farms IDP camps.

It has also provided primary health care services to support the
resettlement of 248,000 of the 300,000 IDPs formerly living in the
camps in Mullathivu, Kilinochchi, Jaffna and Mannar districts.
Nearly 18,000 IDPs have also used IOM's 16 ambulances during the
period.

Mullathivu district, which has received 58,000 returnees from
the camps, faces a huge challenge in rebuilding its health care
system, due to insufficient medical staff, war-damaged
infrastructure and a lack of drugs, according to IOM Sri Lanka
Health Programme Manager Dr. Kolitha Wickramage.

IOM's donation includes hospital examination beds, screens,
sphygmomanometers, stethoscopes, wound dressing kits, IV drip sets,
glucometers and essential medicines.

IDPs and returnees in the north currently face the additional
threat of vector borne diseases such as malaria and dengue, as well
as water borne diseases, with the onset of the monsoon season,
according to Wickramage.

"IOM's approach is to support the Ministry of Health's efforts
to rebuild and strengthen the existing health system. Improved
primary health care and monsoon preparedness activities, including
vector control, are both very high on our list of priorities," he
adds.

For more information please contact:

Dr. Kolitha Wickramage

Tel: +94 772518740

E-mail: "mailto:kwickramage@iom.int">kwickramage@iom.int