Kantalai hospital should be developed on par with Trinco - Health Minister

[TamilNet, Saturday, 26 March 2005, 17:19 GMT]
Mr.Nimal Sripala de Silva, Health Minister in the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government said Saturday that the Kantalai base hospital should be developed on par with the Trincomalee general hospital. "Please do not forget about the development of Kantalai hospital," said the Minister when addressing a conference in the Trincomalee general hospital especially summoned to discuss about the development of the century old Trincomalee general hospital built under the British rule.

Mothers with their children in hands seen standing when the ministers visited the children ward.
Minister Mr.Nimal Sripala de Silva discussing with members of the medical staff about the development of the children ward.
Minister Mr.Nimal Sripala de Silva
Mr.Nimal Sripala de Silva made the above announcement amid concerns raised by several local Tamil leaders and activists in recent times that the government is taking all steps to develop Kantalai base hospital to the status of a teaching hospital ignoring the development of Trincomalee general hospital, sources said.

One local Tamil leader said that the Minister announcement on Saturday has given credential to their fear that the Colombo based government is very keen in developing Kantalai hospital instead of Trincomalee general hospital, which is ignored in the development for the past several decades.

The Minister further said the quality of medical service provided by the Trincomalee general hospital would be raised only with the development of Kantalai hospital.

However he admitted that there was no surgeon working in the Trincomalee general hospital on the day he paid his visit. He added Trincomalee general hospital needed two surgeons.

He said the Kantalai hospital also has no surgeon.

Earlier Minister Mr.Nimal Sripala de Silva and Mr.Maithiripala Sirisena, Minister for Irrigation were received by Dr. (Ms) Koushi Gnanagunalan, Medical Superintendent. She showed the ministers the tsunami destroyed children park of the hospital and the children ward. Later she handed over a memorandum to the minister detailing the shortcomings and urgent needs of the hospital. Mr.Nimal Sripala de Silva replied there were fewer problems in the Trincomalee general hospital compared to other hospitals in the rest of the country.

Dr.Nihal Jayatilake, Director General of Health Services, Mr.L.S.C.Siriwardene, Provincial Health Ministry Secretary and Mr.Kan Tun, Sri Lanka Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and several other officials accompanied the minister.

Kantalai town which is located about 39 km west of Trincomalee town on Trincomalee-Colombo highway was earlier a traditional Tamil village during the time the country gained political independence from Britishers in the year 1948. Currently about 38 thousand Sinhalese and around four thousand Muslims reside in Kantalai town. The population of Tamils is below 2000. Kantalai is now Sinhalese dominated area with the State aided colonization scheme implemented by the then United National Party (UNP) government since 1952.

The Chairman of the then Kantalai village council was a Tamil till Sinhalese gained majority due to the settlement of thousands of Sinhalese people from the south under the State aided colonization. The vote bank of the Sinhalese community in the Trincomalee district is currently based in Kantalai town and its surrounding areas, sources said.

All Sinhalese parliamentarians elected in the Trincomalee district under the district proportional representation hail from Kantalai town. There are three electorates in the Trincomalee district, one is Trincomalee, other is Muttur and the third is Seruvila with the capital town Kantalai under the old electoral scheme, sources said.


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