In conjunction with the Ministry of Health, the Foundation achieved its goal of
building an Accident and Emergency Trauma Unit with 85 bed capacity and
three operating theatres on the premises of the Teaching Hospital in
Batticaloa, Sri Lanka.
It all started with the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. Dr. David Young, our President answered a call to attend to the needs of
the people of Sri Lanka who were displaced, injured and devastated by
the huge Tsunami waves that hit the country on 26th December 2004.
He rushed to help along with other volunteers who he mustered. When he
went to Sri Lanka and travelled like most other volunteers to the South of
the country, he saw first-hand the damage that was done both to the
infrastructure and to humanity. However, he observed that there were
literally hundreds of thousands of people helping in the South, and he
then focused his attention towards the East of the country. These areas
were not getting the due support as it was 5-6 hours away by motor car
and the roads were badly damaged.
Notwithstanding the distance, he went there with his team of volunteers.
It took three days to get to Batticaloa, through broken roads, damaged
culverts, and devastated infrastructure. When he reached Batticaloa, he
was astounded to note the lack of essential hospital infrastructure, tools
and equipment with which to bring the relief he and his team wanted to
administer. They did what they could and promised to return to build an
Accident & Emergency Trauma (A& E) Unit which the Batticaloa Hospital,
and indeed most Regional Hospitals did not have.
The time was right after the Government defeated the LTTE and there
was peace in the country. There was also a keen desire for
reconciliation, renewal and rehabilitation. Approaches were made to
David Young by a team of doctors and surgeons for an A&E to be built
at the Teaching Hospital in Batticaloa. The petitioners brought with
them a floor plan. David Young approached Nihal de Run to join him in
the project to build this A&E.Nihal accepted the challenge.
David Young and Nihal de Run visited Sri Lanka and had a meeting with
the doctors and surgeons of the Batticaloa Hospital. They then called a
meeting with various business leaders in Colombo to explain the need
for this type of health care facility in Batticaloa and all regional public
hospitals. Soon, two committees were formed. A day-to-day
management group, an advisory group. This was duplicated in both
Australia and Sri Lanka. A Public Private (not for profit) Partnership was
proposed. The private sector would donate half the cost through the
Foundation and the Government was to be asked for the matching half.
The total cost for the building alone was estimated at US$ 4 Million at
the outset. This cost subsequently blew out to nearly twice the amount.
The plan was to be taken as high as possible to the Government of Sri
Lanka, Ministry of Health.
Meeting the Hon Minister of Health
A meeting was arranged with the then Minister Hon. Maithripala Sirisena,
later he was President of Sri Lanka. He liked the plan and immediately
instructed his Permanent Secretary to the Health Ministry to meet us to
formulate the plan. This led to a Memorandum of Understanding which
both parties signed, and we proceeded with fund raising, as we started
with a zero balance in our bank account but ended with a contribution of
US$ 3 Million.
Enhancement of Knowledge
A major problem in Sri Lanka is the unavailability of modern machinery
and equipment for doctors and surgeons to perform their professional
duties. Many medical professionals seek positions outside Sri Lanka
so that they can practice their knowledge and experience. This new
A&E serves to fill a vacuum in this regard. Being a Teaching Hospital, it will also help in education of Nurses and
Doctors from the nearby Batticaloa University Medical faculty.
Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) have pledged to provide interactive computer
services in the operating rooms to facilitate communication between
doctors and surgeons working on patients.
Demand for access to the A&E has increased exponentially since the
opening of the facility. Sadly, over 100 people were brought to this facility
when a devastating bomb exploded at the Zion Church on 24th April
2019. It was hollow contentment for the Foundation’s members to note
that the A&E served a huge need on that day and beyond. It is exactly
why we needed this facility.Now, we understand that plans are afoot to replicate the concept of A&E
trauma units alongside three other regional hospitals in Sri Lanka. There
is to be a gradual rollout of more such A&E units over time and when
funds are available.
Please get in touch with us to find out how to donate
Contributions/donations can be made directly to the following bank accounts