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UNICEF aided maternity, children’s ward opened in the East

Two new health facilities were added to the health network of the Eastern Province on August 25. A new Maternity and Children’s Ward of the Pottuvil District Hospital was opened in the morning, while the Regional Medical Supplies Division (RMSD) Kalmunai, was inaugurated the same day.

Both projects are part of the UNICEF-supported Tsunami Infrastructure Reconstruction Programme in Sri Lanka.

The new maternity and paediatric ward complex, costing Rs 103.5 million, will serve more than 45,000 people in the area and include: a paediatric ward, maternity ward, emergency treatment unit and an administrative block. Each ward has a capacity of 30 beds.

"We are really happy that the population of the area will benefit from modern facilities, complete with adequate water and electricity supplies," Dr. A. Ameenudeen, District Medical Officer in Pottuvil, said.

It is now anticipated that the maternity facilities will provide a 24 hour service, to enable the posting of a visiting obstetrician & gynaecologist in Pottuvil and thus reduce the number of home deliveries, while increasing the hospital’s current 20-30 deliveries per month to 100.

"This is expected to be an excellent addition to an area and a population which suffered greatly because of the Tsunami, and it will make a sizeable difference to the pregnant women and newborns of Pottuvil," said the head of UNICEF’s Ampara office Mr Damascus Macheri.

Monday afternoon’s opening of the Regional Medical Supplies Division will serve the Kalmunai Regional Director of Health Service areas and its population of 422,000. It will be the regional hub for 13 medical officers of health areas and 32 regional health facilities which include: three base hospitals, eight district hospitals, four divisional hospitals and 13 central dispensaries. Other facilities that will use the RMSD are the STD Unit, Tuberculosis Control Unit, and anti-Malaria Control Unit.

The Rs 50 million facility will store all medical supplies required for the Kalmunai RDHS area - vaccines, drugs and medical supplies.

"Prior to the Tsunami, we did not have a separate dedicated store for the region and now thanks to the generosity of our donors, we have a store closer to us, with all modern facilities to maintain a regular supply of drugs and basic medical equipment," said Dr. A. L. M. Nazeel, who has been serving as Regional Director Health Services, Kalmunai for the past seven years.

The UNICEF supported Tsunami Infrastructure Reconstruction Programme in the East has included the construction of eight schools and five Gramodaya Health Centres in various locations. Earlier this year the maternity wards and labour room in Thirukkovil, together with staff quarters, were handed over as a part of the tsunami recovery programme. Work on the extension of the maternity and labour room in the Akkaraipattu District Hospital is ongoing.

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