Sri Lanka

5th year of free health care at the Yayawatta Clinic, Sri Lanka

July 26, 2012

Stephney Minerva Fernando


Sri Lanka marks the birthplace of Real Medicine Foundation, the place where the first promise was made and the concept of “Friends Helping Friends Helping Friends” was born. Almost seven years after the tsunami of December 2004, rural villages in Southern Sri Lanka still face challenges of coping with psychological trauma, poverty, and infectious disease outbreaks.

Photo: Dr. Chamal Sanjeewa attends to patients at the clinic

After completing Real Medicine’s immediate tsunami relief efforts at the Mawella Camp Clinic, a second clinic was opened in Yayawatta in October 2006. Now in its fifth year, this clinic remains fully active and continues to grow. Initially established to serve one community of 400 that had been displaced through the tsunami, the Real Medicine Clinic now provides free health care access to over 4,000 people in five impoverished villages in the Hambantota District of Southern Sri Lanka. 

Summary of RMF-sponsored activities carried out during the reporting period under project objective: 

  • The clinic was open 10 days per month to provide free healthcare services to the community of Yayawatta at Seenimodara in Tangalle, Sri Lanka, and its surrounding villages and communities of Palapotha, Kadurupokuna & Seenimodara.
  • A monthly Maternal and Child Health program administered by the local government was hosted at our clinic.

Photo: Mothers and children wait to see the doctor

Results and/or accomplishments achieved during this reporting period: 

  • Our clinic was opened for 10 days each month during the First Quarter of 2012; we saw an average of 20 patients per day with a total of 607 treated.
  • Lasanthie Gangani was recruited to the clinic to help with general cleaning, and to support administration.
  • Our Family Planning Program for Mothers continues to be successful.
  • A project proposal for a diabetic awareness camp was forwarded to the RMF head office in the U.S.
  • The community participated in the cleaning of the clinic premises in the month of March.

Number served/number of direct project beneficiaries:

A total of 607 patients were treated at the clinic during this reporting period.

Medical Services provided:

The clinic was open 10 days per month from 7.00 am to 11.00 am.

The most common diseases treated at the clinic for the month of January 2012:

  1. Respiratory Tract Infections
  2. Joint Diseases/ Arthritis
  3. Skin Diseases
  4. Heart Disease/ Hypertension
  5. Worm Infestation

Photo: Mothers and children waiting patiently at the Yayawatta Clinic

Family Planning Program:

Intra muscular injections of Depo-Provera administered every 3 months to prevent unwanted pregnancies, with 4 mothers participating. 4 mothers are participating in oral contraceptive treatment schedules.

The most common diseases treated at the clinic for the month of February 2012:

  • Respiratory Tract Infections
  • Joint Diseases/ Arthritis
  • Abdominal Pain & Gastritis
  • Skin diseases
  • Worm Infestation
  • Heart Disease/ Hypertension

Family Planning Program:

Intra muscular injections of Depo-Provera administered every 3 months to prevent unwanted pregnancies, with 6 mothers participating. 5 mothers are participating in oral contraceptive treatment schedules.

The most common diseases treated at the clinic for the month of March 2012:

Respiratory Tract Infections

Diseases of the Gastrointestinal Tract

Cardiovascular Diseases

Dermatological Diseases

Success Stories:

The first Thursday of each month is a day set aside for a health education program for mothers and expectant mothers.  It is scheduled and administered at the clinic by the Beliatta Local Government which Yayawatta falls under.

Photo: Mrs Asoka Kanthie Ranasinghe weighing a baby

Mrs. Asoka Kanthie Ranasinghe is the Government Nursing Officer who conducts this program for Mothers. On January 5th, Mrs. Ranasinghe visited the area and conducted home visits of expectant mothers at their residences and then met with all the new mothers and their babies at RMF’s Yayawatta Clinic and Community Center.

Patient Success Stories written by Dr. Chamal Sanjeewa

Patient: Mr. Pintheris

Mr. Pintheris is from Hakmana, 82 years old and had come to RMF’s clinic

with his son, complaining of difficulty with swallowing. He had had this problem for more than a month and his son had also observed his father’s decreasing weight and loss of appetite.

Upon examination I suspected him having Dysphagia and referred him to Tangalle Base Hospital for a Esophago-Gastro-Duodenoscopy. At the hospital, the Medical Consultants also conducted an Ultrasound scan of his abdomen.

Through the scans it was revealed that Mr. Pintheris had non-malignant Gastric Ulcers. We prescribed mild antibiotics and has improved markedly since treatment.

Patient: Baby Shanika

Baby Shanika is 8 months old and her mother had come to the clinic to get medical assistance as she had had a cough & cold for more than 8 weeks.

When I examined her I noticed her difficulty in breathing and observed less air intake from her right lung. I advised the mother to take the baby to the Base Hospital in Tangalle with my reference letter.

The Baby was admitted to the Pediatric Section, X-rays were taken, with the findings that she had right-sided Pneumonia. Shanika received antibiotics for 3 weeks. Following treatment, Baby Shanika was back at the RMF Clinic, much healthier this time, to have her weight checked by the Nursing Officer.

Patient: Miss K.G. Maggie

Miss. K .G. Maggie has been a patient of our Clinic since early 2010.  Her condition at that point was very bad as she was suffering from Cellulitis and the lower parts of both her legs were red and swollen.  From 2010 up to now she has been treated for her disease with strong antibiotics administered very carefully by Dr. Chamal which has eventually gotten her back on her feet again. Now she can walk slowly in the house and is able to attend to her daily work.

Her illness is now well controlled under our treatment. Last month was her 73rd birthday and she was happy and well and very thankful to RMF.

Patient: Mrs. Sally Nona

Mrs. Sally Nona is 75 years old and has visited the RMF Clinic many times in the past for treatment of chronic Respiratory Tract Infections. She had come again recently with high fever and severe cough. She had also complained that at times she had blood in her phlegm.

I had examined her and found high Erythrocyte Sediment Rates and a preliminary diagnosis of Tuberculosis. I then referred her to the Tangalle Base Hospital for further investigation and further testing for TB. The chest X-rays confirmed that she had TB and she was transferred to the Hambantota Base Hospital where there is a separate Tuberculosis Ward.

Treatment with intramuscular and oral antibiotics and a special diet of wholesome food was given immediately and she was very lucky to start recovering quickly.

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