Health ministry to curb INGO sponsored clinicsAugust 16, 2012, 9:24 pm
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
The Health Ministry said it has decided to curb International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) from conducting health clinics in Sri Lanka. The spokesman for the Health Ministry said yesterday that this was being done in a bid to curb possible LTTE infiltration into the country and the possibility of Sri Lankans patients being used as guinea pigs for research carried out by foreign doctors.
Citing an example, the spokesman said there had been incidents in the private sector where cleft lip surgeries, which had been performed by foreign doctors, had gone seriously wrong disfiguring patients so that even Sri Lankan surgeons could not correct them. The Ministry sought to prevent such occurrences which may be done under the guise of INGO facilitated health camps. The other possibility was that there may be furtive attempts to spread religion.
The spokesman said Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena had issued strict instructions to his officials to forward all requests made by INGOs, to conduct health clinics in Sri Lanka, for his perusal. Within the last three months there had been four INGOs which had requested permission to conduct clinics.
A majority of the requests were to conduct those clinics and camps in the North and East, he said.
The Health Ministry has a special set of guidelines for special health camps organised by NGOs under ‘Private Hospital Development,’ of the Private Hospital Development Unit of the Health Ministry.
The spokesman said a majority of requests were made a few weeks or a month or so before, which left the Health Ministry very little time to conduct a background check. The INGOs don’t acquire the assistance of local doctors and local government authorities during those camps although guidelines stress the need for obtaining their assistance. Instead they bring their own medical teams, he said adding that INGOs should inform the Ministry at least two months before. The Ministry needs to establish who would be attending the clinics, their reasons for attending them and what their medical specialty was. Those medical specialists were given temporary registration under the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC). The spokesman stressed that only Specialists were given registration.
The spokesman said that the government and private sector had provided adequate health facilities in all parts of the country so that now there was no pressing need for voluntary organizations to conduct health camps in any part of the country.
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