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News

GMOA up in arms against arrival of Indian medical team

By Nirmala Kannangara

With the government's decision to permit Indian doctors to run a hospital in Pulmodai sidelining the Sri Lankan doctors, a confrontation is brewing between Health Ministry officials and the Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA), The Sunday Leader learns.

"When there are adequate doctors in the country and in some instances when doctors  are without work why did the Health Minister  get down a team of Indian doctors and other medical staff to treat the internally displaced persons (IDP) in the north?" asked Deputy Secretary GMOA, Dr. Upul Gunasekera.         

He stated that the GMOA in consultation with the Health Ministry had started a voluntarily programme to treat the IDPs in the north and the east a few months back.

"In this backdrop what was the need for the government, and the Health Ministry in particular, to get down a team of Indian doctors to run a 50-bed hospital in Pulmodai which is the first in the country's medical history?" he asked, appearing visibly angry at what he considered was an infringement of the rights of the GMOA.

According to Dr. Gunasekera lack of administrative skills of Health Ministry officials had led to the present state of "unethical dealings" at the Ministry.  He charged that the latest decision to permit the Indians to run a hospital in Pulmodai was to instigate a confrontation between Ministry officials and the GMOA.

The GMOA he said  called on Health Secretary Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage two weeks ago seeking clarification as to why such a decision was taken when adequate doctors were available to treat the IDPs in the north and the east, and that so far they had not received any explanation.

According to Dr. Gunasekera the Health Ministry's 'deliberate failure' to consult the GMOA and the SLMC on the issue would not only hamper the country's medical profession which is comparable to that available in developed countries and was the best in the region, but would also result in bad repercussions for the patients.

 "We are surprised that the government has permitted the Indian doctors to run a hospital without the support of our own doctors. If any foreign doctor wants to practise here, he should get SLMC registration without which he cannot practise in the country. In this instance none of the Indian doctors have obtained SLMC registration, neither have they applied for registration," Dr. Gunasekera charged.

 According to Dr. Gunasekera if a team of foreign doctors are assigned to treat our own people then there should be  bilateral collaboration and unless there is equal local representation it would be a risk to let them work without supervision.

Dr. Gunasekera said that the GMOA was awaiting the Ministry Secretary's report on how permission was granted to Indian doctors to run a hospital.  He warned if the GMOA perceives any hidden agendas that would tarnish the country's health sector, stern action would be taken against the government.

Health Secretary Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage told The Sunday Leader that the Indians responded positively to their call and added that the Sri Lankan government had requested such medical help not only from India but also from other countries as well.

"We made an appeal  to the foreign missions in the country and International Non Governmental Organisations (INGO) to help us in this hour of need. That is why the Indians came to help us with medical assistance," added Dr. Kahandaliyanage.

The Indian High Commission in Colombo responding, said, " The medical team is a fully self-contained unit. All equipment, including operation theatres, operating tables, X-ray machines, ventilators, laboratory,  medicines, medical items and hospital stores (including beds, tables, bed linen, etc) worth SL Rs. 70 million, needed for a modern hospital have been sent with the team."

The Indian medical team arrived in Sri Lanka on March 9 to establish an emergency medical unit including a hospital in Pulmodai as agreed with the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to assist in supplementing the existing medical facilities and attend to the medical needs of the IDPs in the north.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

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