Free healthcare is a privilege for Sri Lankans and we should be grateful for the servicecare provided by the state hospitals. Keeping this in mind the Rotaract club of Excellence in partnership with the Interact club of Kingswood College came up with the initiative to develop a hospital in the rural area of our country.
This project is about the development of Narampanawa hospital, which is located off Kandy. 5000 villagers are living in this village and Narampanawa is the only hospital they have access to within 20km. Most of the villagers are low-income earners and they depend on this hospital for treatment and healthcare because it is difficult for them to travel to Kandy for treatment considering the high significant cost they must endure on traveling expenses. On average 50-60 patients visit the hospital on a daily basis, they also face many hazardous challenges in reaching the hospital due to the adverse condition of the roads and threat of wildlife due to its remote location. The director of this hospital Dr.Namal Ranaweera listed several things that needed immediate attention and we segmented them to realize that they were mostly struggling with a lot of external requirements that might sound insignificant at the first glance however which is indeed equally important as any internal repairs because of the current circumstance that the hospital was facing.
The main requirement of this hospital was to build a fence leading to the hospital’s path. The main reason behind this is, many medical equipment and patient possessions were being lost or stolen since there isn’t a proper barrier surrounding the hospital entrance. The plants, garbage bins, water filters, and other items which are outside the hospital were being destroyed by wildlife animals. Hence, as per their immediate requirement, we built a fence that was around 100ft long in width and 6ft in height to protect the hospital from external threats.
A concrete path and roofing were also constructed by the dispensary since the area gets flooded due to the vast climate changes, Moreover, Narampanawa prominent location is usually flooded most of the time during the monsoon seasons. As a result, the patients are facing a huge dilemma in reaching the dispensary as they get drenched and will have to struggle considerably to walk passing the ground which is at times muddy and slippery and could be opposed as a hazardous danger to the civilians of the area and will also have a pool of water up to their knees during harsh weather conditions. Due to the pandemic, precautionary measures such as social distancing to maintain a distance between patients were mandatory, however, the hospital had lacked enough space to allocate many patients inside the dispensary, so they requested us to expand the waiting area to avoid patients from getting overcrowded. Thus, a concrete area of 800 square feet was made at the entrance to the dispensary along with the roofing. This would ensure that the water flows correctly when it rains, reduces the risk of flooding and getting drenched, and also has more space for patients to be waiting without crowding and causing any animosity.
We decided to prioritize these external repairs first because at the time focusing on the internal repairs were not necessary as if they will eventually get affected due to the lack of security barriers surrounding the hospital and lack of space in the dispensary which was a concerning issue due to covid thus, we had taken on the responsibility to advocate the stop the spread any further.
All the materials needed for the renovation were sourced from local hardware stores, and the villagers were eager to volunteer and help in the renovations since it was important to them in more ways than one. We were glorified by the village as they were thankful for all the efforts that were put into the development of the Hospital.
These renovations have made a huge impact on the patients, villagers, and hospital management both internally and externally. It helped solve many problems which they have struggled with for years making us also realize the importance of having a proper barrier and roofing could do to a health facility.
We Partnered up and collaborated with a club on the outskirts of Colombo since this is a project which was in Narampanawa and it would be easier for us if we had a club which was in Kandy since it was difficult to travel due to the restrictions which made it more practical and cost-effective. The interactive club of Kingswood College had extended their fullest support in getting this project up and running by visiting the hospital on a daily basis for status updates and arranging meetings with the hospital director.
Going forward we have made plans to raise funds and donate medical equipment requested by the hospital, plant trees of botanical value and have a proper garbage disposal system as the next phase. We firmly believe that this sustainable drive will benefit all the stakeholders in the Narampanawa Village.
Rtr. Nuzha Ismail
Co-Director – Community Service