Estate hospitals starved of development funds

[TamilNet, Monday, 06 December 2004, 11:44 GMT]
"Provincial Administrations routinely employ discriminatory policies in healthcare for estate workers. Financial allocations have been made to improve every Government run hospital in Uva Province. But all of the six Estate Hospitals have been left out. This situation must change," said United Peoples Front (UPF) Councillor Mr Aravindhan Speaking on the Uva Provincial Council 2005 Budget debate on the Provincial Health Ministry, sources said.

"Estate workers are key to economic properity of Sri Lanka. But low wages and lack of heathcare continue to plague the estate community.

"Medical workers at the Hospitals go off duty at the same time as the estate workers return from work. So the workers are unable to benefit from the services provided in these hospitals. Suitable adjustments should be made to working hours of medical workers at the Estate Hospitals to ensure that they are available when the estate workers need their services. Also adequate ambulance facilities should be provided to the Estate hospitals," Mr Aravindhan said.

"Hundreds of employees attached to the Uva Province Hospitals continue to work as casual hands for several years. Immediate steps should be taken to make them permanent. This should apply also to the 10 youths who have worked for over 2 years at the Demodera Estate Rural Hospital.

"New provisions in the Central Government Budget allows for increased maternity leave with pay. This benefit should be extended to the estate mothers as well. Also the services provided by the Dept of Social Services under the Health Ministry should reach the estate sector too," the Councillor added.

"It is heartening to note that funds have been provided for the upkeep of the rural and urban based Elders' Homes. There are several helpless elders in the estate sector too and action should be taken to establish atleast one Elders' Home for the estate sector," Aravindhan said.

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