labour delivers new maternity ward for Mawanella
By Esther Williams
The community's efforts had paid off. Mawanella Base Hospital now
has a new maternity unit that was inaugurated by First Lady Shiranthi
Rajapaksa on Wednesday.
township hit the news in May 2001 for violent communal clashes between
the Sinhalese and Muslims, but the fact that the very same people
have united to work in solidarity for this much needed maternity
unit is heartwarming. What better cause than an institution of healing
that would cater to a population of 300,000 of the Sabaragamuwa
all began when Consultant Gynaecologist, Dr. M. Nawaz Jiffry was
posted to the Mawanella Base Hospital two years ago. He was appalled
to see the poor conditions of the labour room and the absence of
an operation theatre. There was just him and two other doctors to
cater to a large number of patients while the difficult cases were
sent to the Kegalle Hospital.
trained and served in Britain for several years, Dr. Jiffry had
been keen to get back to his own country. "I wanted the patients
here to have the same quality of care and treatment that was available
abroad," he says. Discussions with community leaders and patients
led to the formation of the 'MUM (Maternity Unit of Mawanella) Foundation'
on May 9, 2004, to coincide with the World Mother's Day.
want to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for every mother,"
says the Foundation's President, General Cyril Ranatunga, former
commander of the Joint Operations Headquarters. Most government
hospitals cannot provide all facilities together with cleanliness,
of the foundation thereafter began intensive fundraising efforts.
Donation tills were kept at temples, mosques and churches; raffle
tickets were sold at the hospital, schools and public places and
appeals were sent to the business communities. Every little bit
trickled in gradually. organizations like the Lions Club, the Saudi
Red Crescent Society and the corporate sector donated cash, equipment
and other hospital needs. Interestingly, a few patients made considerable
contributions when doctors treating them forfeited their charges.
Provincial Council member S.H.M. Jawahir had lost his mother in
his infancy and hence had few memories of her. Knowing well the
hardships of living without a mother, his contribution was Rs. 1.2
million. "It is in memory of my mother Safiya," he says.
significant donation of Rs. 1.5 million came from the Netherlands-Sri
Lanka Friendship Foundation (NEDLA). According to Dr. Jiffry, the
new unit that accommodates eighty beds has a labour room with the
best of facilities, an emergency obstetrics theatre, well-equipped
ante-natal and post-natal wards named Safiya and Nedla, a gynaecology
ward for women with gynaecological problems and a clinical audit,
research and training centre with multimedia facilities for training
of medical staff at all levels.
tackle the increasing number of patients, five additional doctors
have been posted to the unit. Walking through the unit, it is evident
that the bright and airy wards will make the patients' stay more
pleasant. Special efforts have been taken to ensure that the toilet
facilities are of high standards.