North pleads for more health cadres urgently

By Franklin R. Satyapalan

Minister of Health for the Northern Province, Dr. P. Sathyalingam, yesterday appealed to the government for an increase in the health cadre. He said there had been no revision of the cadre for over a decade and a large number of vacancies still existed.

He said that despite Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena having understood that due to the longstanding conflict, the Northern province had not produced sufficient A-L qualified students, from the Bio stream and had thus allowed students qualified in other streams to enter nurses’ training, a nurses’ Union had opposed the move. As a result, today the only two Teaching Hospitals in the North, one in Jaffna and the other in Vavuniya, had annual intakes of 62 and 59, while the majority was from the Eastern Province.

Dr. Sathyalingam said there weren’t enough nurses, pharmacists and all other essential health cadre categories to provide health services at 99 Hospitals and 30 Medical Officer of Health (MOH) offices, coming under the Northern Provincial Director of Health, Dr. Mrs. R. Jude.

Though Health services had been improved in the Northern Province, an adequate cadre had not been provided. For example, a neuro surgical clinic was opened recently and a Primary Medical Care Unit (PMCU) established at Palai, without adequate personnel. Now, a new cancer Hospital with bed facilities for 160 patients was to be opened at Tellippalai next week, the Northern Health Minister said.

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