05/28/2016, 15.25
SRI LANKA
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Caritas Sri Lanka sets up free mobile medical clinics for the poor

by Melani Manel Perera

Caritas Colombo set up a mobile clinic in the village of Delathura. Despite being ill and the rains, people came in droves. In a single morning, some 400 people were visited. A private hospital provided medical drugs free of charge.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Caritas Sri Lanka plans to offer free medical care to the rural poor via mobile clinics.

A medical team set up the first clinic near St Roch’s Catholic Church, in Delathura, a village near Ja-Ela, a large suburb north of Colombo. Patients began lining up as early as at 8.45 am.

The purpose of this plan “is to provide assistance to those who need it and rediscover the true meaning of the word help. We need to treat patients with a sincere heart,” said Titus Wimalasiri, executive director of Seth Sarana, the Colombo Caritas chapter, who spoke to AsiaNews.

Under his direction, doctors visited some 400 people in a single morning, handing out otherwise impossible to get drugs to patients provided by Hemas Hospital, a private health facility. Specialists performed general checkup, and measured blood pressure and sugar levels.

People came from nearby villages after local pastors spread the word from parish to parish. Braving summer rains, they came to get something for their sick children and elderly parents, to treat colds as well as fever.

"It is difficult to get to the hospital in this weather for prenatal tests,” said Chandralatha, a 26-year-old pregnant woman.

When she heard that Caritas was handing out medicines, she rushed. Usually when she has to go the hospital, she is accompanied by her husband who has to take time off from work and lose a day’s pay.

“I am grateful to Seth Sarana for helping me, for not excluding me because I am Buddhist, she said.

Titus Wimalasiri notes that most of the health problems the mobile clinic treated are caused by poverty and low literacy.

"Based on our surveys, we know that the [health] problems are related to economic poverty, and physical and mental distress,” the Seth Sarana executive director explained.

“For instance, in the village of Delathura, youth usually they get married at the age of 15-16 years, and pay no attention to personal hygiene and cleanliness.” Instead, “our goal is to guide them towards proper health".

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