UVA Hospitals – Covid Project.
At a time of national emergency, in early June 2021, Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Upul Ranasinghe attached to the Bandarawela Hospital saw a rising wave of Covid patients in the Uva Province which he knew the hospitals would be ill equipped to handle.
He reached out to Dr. Nalaka Mendis(Emeritus Professor, Colombo University)who immediately responded by calling on Dr. Naj Nagendran (Foundation of Goodness- USA) and gathered together a like-minded group of humanitarians from Sri Lanka and overseas to include Mr. Manik Jayakumar (Q Trade Teas & Herbs USA, ), Mr. Felix Stephen ((Volunteers to Assist Children with Disabilities , Sydney ) Mr. S. Skandakumar (OruPaanai Trust- SL & UK ) Mr. Kushil Gunasekera (Foundation of Goodness) and Dr. Erosha Premaratne ( Australia Sri Lanka Medical Aid Team) to raise funds and equipment urgently.
With the number of Covid related deaths rising day by day and images of struggling patients sleeping on the ground outside overflowing hospital wards filling the news, the initial focus of the group was to quickly upgrade the Covid facilities at the Bandarawela Hospital where its capacity was increased from 50 beds to 300. Having acted fast to complete the first phase, the group was overwhelmed to hear Dr. Roshan Piyarathna, Physician in charge of the covid unit at Bandarawela Hospital, say “Thanks to your donations the hospital was able to treat and discharge over 1500 positive patients”.
Motivated by this, more funds were raised through some truly generous donors here and overseas, to extend similar assistance to five additional hospitals in Uva Province- Haputale, Haldumulla, Diyatalawa, Koslanda and Welimada .
A combined contribution of cash and equipment worth over Rs. 26 million was made to upgrade the hospital facilities in Uva Province which not only had a crucial impact on the treatment delivered during the pandemic under life or death circumstances, but will also hold the hospitals in good stead thereafter.
This project was delivered successfully due to the support of the College of Internal Medicine lead by President Dr.Harsha Sathischandra who took on the responsibility to disburse the funds and oversee the purchase of equipment and its Treasurer, Dr. Priyamali Jayasekera’s voluntary role, in spite of the heavy demands on her time in her official duties . These efforts ensured that funds and equipment were used to the best advantage of the respective hospitals, while transparency was maintained at all times.
Dr. Janitha Tennekoon- Provincial Director Uva, Dr. Leelananda Gallage- DMO Bandarawela, and Dr. Roshan Piyarathna- physician in charge of the Covid unit, facilitated the process, at the Bandarawela Hospital while Dr. U M Pushpalatha – MS, Welimada Hospital, Dr. RanjithAmarakone – MS, Diyatalawa Hospital, Dr. Sanjeeva Samaraweera DMO, Haputale Hospital, Dr. Vichithra Rathnayake – DMO, Haldumulla Hospital , assisted by Dr Dhananjaya Premaratne, and Dr. NiroshanThaminidu – DMO, Koslanda Hospital assisted by Dr Dulan Munasinghe did likewise in coordinating these efforts at their respective hospitals to ensure successful completion.
The passing away of one of the amiable donors Eddie Wijesuriya, during this exercise. was recorded with great sadness.