Czech mobile hospital starts working in tsunami-hit Sri Lanka

The medical team Hand for Help, photo: CTK

A Czech mobile children's hospital has just started working in the city of Galle in Sri Lanka. The experienced 21-member medical and technical team arrived in the tsunami-hit region on Tuesday. By Friday morning all the tents had been put up and furnished with medical equipment to welcome the first patients.

The medical team Hand for Help, photo: CTK
The medical team sent to Sri Lanka by the charity Hand for Help has recent experience from rescue operations in earthquake-stricken regions of Turkey and Iran. Their children's hospital in the Sri Lankan city of Galle is meant to treat cases not necessarily directly related to the tsunami disaster but it will take some of the burden off the shoulders of the local doctors. Besides that the Czech team have built a maternity unit which is due to start working shortly, once a group of Czech obstetricians arrive. Jaromir Dolansky is the head of the Czech team.

"I paid a visit to the local maternity hospital yesterday and it was quite a powerful experience. The women in labour are living in appalling conditions, either just lying on a rug on a concrete floor or two to three sharing one bed. The Sri Lankan authorities have asked us to help there so we will try our best to improve the situation."

The Czech medial unit had been originally invited by the Sri Lankan authorities to come and help out just for three months but it now looks as though they might stay for much longer.

The children from Sri Lanka, photo: CTK
"It will depend on how much money we will be able to get because if we stay here for longer, the costs will increase. We have now been asked to stay for a year, maybe even longer. The Sri Lankan Health Minister has asked us to build a more lasting facility, again in the inflated tents which are very popular here because no one has probably seen them before. It would involve buying more new inflatable tents which we would leave here, and also more instruments and equipment."

The Hand for Help organisation is already in talks with other Czech charities and the Senate over additional funding. The team, composed of doctors, nurses, technicians and cooks will be rotated regularly. Doctors will take monthly turns.