Sharing beds, lying on benches and in corridors in Kalubowila

Published : 10:05 am  March 10, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (740) reads | 



By H. M. Dharmapala and Kusal Chamath
The lack of facilities at the Colombo South Hospital, Kalubowila has inconvenienced a number of patients seeking treatment there.
Despite the increasing number of patients at the hospital, infrastructure facilities provided by the authorities have hardly kept pace with the increase in demand.
2014 statistics show that 5,900 in-house patients had received treatment in addition to the OPD patients at Kalubowila. What is most regrettable is that due to scarcity of beds patients are compelled to share beds or use benches or even lie in corridors.
A patient from Baddegama area under treatment said he was employed as a mason at a construction site in Maharagama and that he was admitted to the Colombo South Hospital when he developed high fever.“I have been receiving treatment for more than a week. However, I am compelled to lie on a bench in the verandah of the ward. Many patients like me lie in hospital corridors for want of beds. However, despite the hardship we have no alternative but to stay on for treatment,” he said.
Another patient under treatment in a women’s ward said she had to share a bed with another patient for four days. She blamed the authorities of ignoring the hardship patients suffer. She pointed out that politicians, senior officials and the rich who obtained treatment at private hospitals were not concerned about the sufferings of the poor who depend on government hospitals.
Hospital employees said that the proposed millennium building for the hospital  had failed: it ground to a halt leaving the site to the mercy of the elements and shrubs and that it was a waste of public funds.
The director of the hospital Dr. Asela Gunawardene while admitting there was congestion in the wards said there was nothing he could do on his own to resolve the issue. He said on an average 1100 patients a day sought treatment at the hospital and that most of them needed in-hospital treatment.
“The hospital administration does its best  with the limited facilities and ward space available. The construction of a new wing to the hospital comprising a ward complex for 1110 beds, medical laboratory facilities and an OPD commenced on August 14, 2006. It should have been completed by December 2008. The estimated cost of the building in 2006 was Rs.400 million.
However the project had been continually postponed over eight years. I have made representations to the ministry and have been to understand that the cost of the project has been re-estimated at Rs.900 million due to the increasing prices of building materials and labour. Congestion in the hospital could have been avoided if the proposed project was completed as initially scheduled,” he said.
Pics by H.M Dharmapala