A fully-fledged cancer treatment facility for the Northern Province is on the cards. “A MoU between the Northern Provincial Council and Dehiwala Metro Lions Club for this first-ever treatment facility for the Northern Province is now approved by the Vavuniya District Coordinating Committee (DCC). This will enormously help more than 700,000 northerners,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.
The decision by Minister Bathiudeen follows a special appeal by Marlene Jayawardena and Naomi Kularatne, Chair and Co-Chair of the project funder Dehiwala Metro Lions Club, to the top officials presiding the four-hour long Vavuniya DCC session of 19 September.
The officials were Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, Northern Province Governor Major General G.A. Chandrasri and Government Agent of Vavuniya P.S.M. Charles.
Minister Bathiudeen, who chaired the Vavuniya DCC meeting to discuss the development projects, announced the decision during the monthly DCC meeting held on 19 September at Vavuniya District Secretariat Conference Hall in Vavuniya city.
The Rs. 700 m project came to life initially after five acres of land at Pompamaduwa, Vavuniya for this first northern cancer facility was divested in 2010 September by Charles.
According to the Statistics Division of Sri Lanka’s National Cancer Institute, 120 diagnosed cancer patients (whose addresses were directly from Northern Province) sought in-patient treatment at its Maharagama Cancer Hospital in 2010. This however excludes the Northern Province cancer patients who registered at same Maharagama Hospital with their address “in Colombo” and if these too are included, 2010 diagnosed Northern Province cancer patients exceed the identified 120).
The Cancer Institute also revealed that the cancer patient numbers across the country are on the increase annually.
“Ably assisted by all clubs in District 306 A1 and Vavuniya Lions Club, the project is at last starting to move with DCC approval,” said Jayawardena said. “The first phase of the project will need Rs. 300 m. The Dehiwala Metro Lions Club is generously funding this total amount sourced via overseas funding assistance. We are now searching for Rs. 400 Million funds for the second phase where a larger scale facility is to be completed with fully equipped state-of-the-art theatres,” she revealed.
“This facility will stay attached to Vavuniya Hospital. In its phase one it will have a male, female and children ward each, together with a research complex, 16 quarters for nurses, eight quarters for doctors and a special residential facility for in patient caretakers,” said Charles.