Colombo attempts to create 'health disaster' in Vanni - LTTE

[TamilNet, Thursday, 10 April 2008, 08:16 GMT]
Health services in Vanni are facing a man made disaster created by the Sri Lanka Defense Ministry, said N. Selvy, LTTE's spokesperson on Human Rights. Sri Lankan forces have blocked supplies to Ki'linochchi Deputy Provincial Director of Health Service (DPDHS) division. The DPDHS office recently said that medicine quota for the district hospital for the first quarter of 2008 is yet to arrive. Meanwhile, Mullaiththeevu DPDHS has told media that only 20% of the fuel supplies needed to operate the district hospital, two sub-hospitals and six pharmacies in the district, has been allowed across the entry point at Oamanthai by the Sri Lankan forces.

N. Selvy
LTTE's Human Rights spokesperson, in a press statement issued on Thursday, called upon the International Community not to fail to react to the gross human rights violation by the government of Sri Lanka.

Full text of the press statement issued by Ms. Selvi follows:

Health services in Vanni under extreme stress
- LTTE Spokesperson for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs

The Deputy Provincial Directors of Health Services (DPDHS) for Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu, have both recently raised their concerns about the severe lack of material resources to run the health services in the two districts. These two districts in Vanni suffer material shortages to run the health services because these materials are blocked at the checkpoints in Omanthai and Vavuniya by the Sri Lanka Defense Ministry.

The Kilinochchi DPDHS said that medicine quota for the Kilinochchi district hospital for the first quarter of 2008 is yet to arrive. This quota should have arrived prior to the start of the quarter in January but they have not arrived even after the quarter ended by end of March. The medicines have been stagnating in Vavuniya without permission from the Ministry of Defense. The DPDHS expressed hope that they will arrive some time soon. There are no stocks for the Amoxil syrup, a common pediatric antibiotic, and Diabetes medication. Patients are in serious danger due to lack of these medicines.

The Mullaithivu DPDHS also raised his concern about the huge reduction of the fuel allocation to his health services. Although unlimited amount of fuel was permitted during the ceasefire period the amount permitted has been gradually reduced further and further. Mullaithivu DPDHS said that the health services in his district that is made up of a vast area and sparse population need 14,000 liters per month at the very minimum. With this fuel the Mullaithivu district hospital, two sub-hospitals in the district, and six pharmacies must be operated. This fuel is needed to run the electricity generation in these hospitals and also to run the ambulances that must take serious cases to the Vavuniya hospital. Despite these urgent needs only 2750 liters of fuel has been allocated for the health services in the Mullaithivu district.

The concerns raised by the DPDHS highlight the stark conditions in which the health services in Vanni are struggling by the man made disaster created by the Sri Lanka Defense Ministry. It is worth reminding ourselves what the United Nations human rights instruments have to say about the responsibility to provide adequate health services, especially to the children. The Convention on the Rights of the Child in Article 24 it says:

"State Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services."

Under the pretext of ensuring security in the south of the island is the Sri Lankan state denying the very basic medicines to the Tamil children? Has the international community failed to notice this gross human rights violation?


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