Sri Lanka

We enter our fourth year at the Yayawatta Village in the Tangalle region of Sri Lanka

March 16, 2010

Minerva Fernando and Michael Lear

As we enter our fourth year at the Yayawatta Village in the Tangalle region of Sri Lanka, we look forward to growing with our community and to extending our outreach.

While most other Tsunami Relief Projects have stopped, our clinic remains fully active and continues to grow. Initially established to serve one community of 400, the Real Medicine Clinic has grown to serve five villages and provides health care to over 4,000 persons.

Presently, the clinic serves the communities of Yayawatta, Kadurupokuna, Seenimodara, Moraketi Ara and Palapotha.

Over three years ago, before the arrival of Real Medicine Foundation at the Yayawatta Village, most in this area had little if any access to free healthcare services. Even today, most cannot afford transport to the closest hospital in Tangalle for care on a regular basis. Having convenient access to free healthcare is especially important for young mothers, children, and the elderly.

Our community outreach and health education programs also provide additional support to those wishing to take better care of themselves and their families, and have provided a means for those in remote areas to stay informed of regional health concerns.

Last year, in addition to our Maternal Child Health and Nutrition program, we supported the government' s Dengue Fever Outbreak Awareness directives and worked together with the community to clean up the areas surrounding the clinic to minimize mosquito breeding grounds. Joint activities like this have strengthened our ties to the community and have fostered their ownership and pride in the clinic' s overall success for the benefit of everyone.

Even during the rainy season, when it is not easy to reach the clinic because of flooded access roads to the village, patients continue to come month after month. Below are the morbidity reports highlighting the clinic’s activity from November 2009 through January 2010.

Sachini's Story

The Yayawatta Clinic staff also cares for three of the children in RMF' s Long-Term Medical Support program who live in the Tangalle area. Two of the children receive growth hormone therapy and one receives cholesterol-lowering medications.
Recently, Sachini, one of the girls in the growth hormone therapy program, was diagnosed with a brain tumor requiring immediate surgery. Minerva Fernando, Real Medicine Foundation's Project Coordinator, assisted Sachini's family with the arrangements.

She explains, “Sachini is an exuberant 18 year old girl who is dedicated to her studies and who is passionate about dance, especially the Tango.

While Sachini doesn' t look 18 years old, as a result of a hormone disorder called Turner' s Syndrome, she, with the help of her doting parents and growth hormone replacement therapy from RMF, lives the life of a typical 18 year old, studying, dancing, and helping her mom care for her two younger brothers.

But recently she unfortunately had to stop studying because of disabling headaches and vision loss. After a series of doctors' visits and exams, Sachini was diagnosed with a tumor on her pituitary gland. The formal diagnosis was Temporal Hemianopia Craniopharyngeoma.

With the support of all the members of Real Medicine Foundation in Sri Lanka, as well as India and the US, Sachini was very lucky to get her surgery done by one of the best surgeons in Sri Lanka, Dr. Himashi Kularatna, without having to go through the waiting list system. Avoiding the long wait time for surgery ensured Sachini of the best possible chance for full recovery.

The surgery was performed on January 19, 2010 and Sachini returned home to Seenimodara on February 3.” 

Country Page: Sri Lanka Initiative Page: Primary Care Clinic Yayawatta