Advanced healthcare for Hambantota | Daily News


Advanced healthcare for Hambantota

New district hospital with modern equipment opened on July 1
President Maithripala Sirisena opening the new district hospital in Hambantota. Ministers Dr. Rajitha Senaratne and Dilip Wedaarachchi and Parliamentarian Mahinda Amaraweera also participated.
President Maithripala Sirisena opening the new district hospital in Hambantota. Ministers Dr. Rajitha Senaratne and Dilip Wedaarachchi and Parliamentarian Mahinda Amaraweera also participated.

President Maithripala Sirisena opened the new district hospital in Hambantota at a simple yet dignified ceremony attended by local and foreign dignitaries on July 1.

This new hospital was built with Rs.7,000 million funding by the Netherlands. It is a modern hospital with 850 beds, operating theatres, intensive care units (ICU), an outpatient department (OPD), pharmacies, a blood transfusion centre and quarters for both doctors and nurses. In addition, there is a dialysis unit under construction which is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

Addressing the gathering at the opening ceremony, President Sirisena said that it took seven years to open this hospital. The opening of the hospital was originally scheduled to be held in 2016.

“We also wish to open the hospital being built in Nuwara Eliya, soon. Some people opposed this project saying there is no need of another hospital in Hambantota as there already is a hospital. But, in this new hospital, there is modern medical equipment. Former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and I laid the foundation stone for this hospital in 2012. Our free education and free health service is exemplary. Everyone accepts the fact that we have a high quality health service. It is our strength. There is no free education in many other countries. Citizens in such countries have to pay for education from Grade 8,” the President said.

“Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, in any country, preventive healthcare measures should be stronger than curative measures. But, we allocate 90 percent for cure and 10 percent for prevention in the budget. In other countries, there are more nutritionists than doctors,” he said.

“People should be more concerned about their health. Unfortunately, government servants also do not think about their health. From children to adults, everyone should be knowledgeable about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and adopt such good habits,” President Sirisena said.

“Doctors and nurses perform a huge role in providing health services free. At the moment you do not feel their value. You will understand the value of free health services only if you happen to be admitted to a hospital,” the President said.

Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne also spoke on the occasion.

“This hospital was originally scheduled to be opened in 2016. Some people said we would not be able to open the hospital. The reason for the delay in opening the hospital was some issues related to the contract and the equipment. I had to settle those matters,” Minister Dr. Senaratne said.

“We did not misuse any public funds though there was a petition against us. I am happy that we were able to provide modern equipment for this hospital. The most advanced CT scanners in the country will be available at the Hambantota and Nuwara Eliya hospitals. The time taken to allocate public funds was the reason for the delay in opening the new Hambantota hospital,” he said.

“We distributed free coronary stents and eye lenses. I also took steps to provide free treatment for cancer patients. Petitions were sent against us as we decreased the price of cancer medicines. I stopped fraud in the Health Ministry. I have not experienced any objections from the President or the Prime Minister regarding any of the projects at the Health Ministry, under my purview. They have always approved the necessary funds. We launch such development projects according to the principles of the government,” the Minister said.

Health Ministry Secretary Wasantha Perera and Netherlands Ambassador Joanne Doornewaard also spoke at the opening ceremony.

In her address, the Ambassador said that she was happy to witness the opening of the Hambantota Hospital though the construction had been delayed. Students of the Hambantota Nurses Training School (NTS) performed a dance item at the event.

State Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development and Rural Economic Affairs Dilip Wedaarachchi, Parliamentarian Mahinda Amaraweera, Southern Province Governor Keerthi Tennakoon, former Southern Provincial Council Opposition Leader Tennakoon Nilame, Health Ministry Secretary Wasantha Perera, Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Directors and many officials also participated in the occasion.

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