General Secretary’s Report 2019

Dr Chandraprabha Thavakulasingam

General Secretary

The last MIOT Annual General Meeting took place at The City Pavilion, Collier Row, Romford on 24th November 2018. The new committee for 2018/19 was duly elected.  The committee has met 6 times since being elected to discuss all the projects we are currently supporting.

Our Current and Ongoing projects include:

 

 Moolai Extended Primary Care centre

A state-of-the-art Primary Care Centre was built and opened for operation in January 2019, in Moolai. This was fully funded by a member Dr S Rajasundaram through MIOT. Of the total investment, £270,000 and a tax rebate of £65,475 was invested through MIOT.  The next phase is the recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals to provide the services.  Moves are underway to get the centre accredited for post graduate training by the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine which will attract clinicians to work at this centre.  It is also planned to train healthcare assistants at this centre.

 

Moolai Primary Care Centre Project

MIOT has been funding a primary care project that has been operating from the Moolai Hospital premises which provided free primary care services to local people with poor income.  MIOT contributes £1000 per annum towards this project.  This will be reviewed in the fourth coming year.

 

MIOT ambulance and mobile clinic project

The MIOT Mobile Health Clinic project has been considered as one of the ‘flagship projects’ , and has been successfully running for the last 4 years. We targeted the most vulnerable population in the war-affected areas of the Vanni region. In these remote areas there are no suitable health care facilities for their needs. Hence these patients have to make long, convoluted often difficult, expensive and time-consuming journeys to the district hospitals. The focus was mainly on the disabled people and their families. In addition, the MIOT ambulance has also been used to transport disabled patients from their home to base hospitals and tertiary hospitals. Because of their special needs, disabled people have to overcome numerous barriers in order to have access to doctors, rehabilitation services or other health care facilities. The lack of access to these services deprives them of appropriate clinical support in a timely manner.

We felt that MIOT alone can’t keep the momentum going, so we made a strategic decision – to work with a local NGO which already has well trained staff and volunteers who are aware of the service needs of the people at the grass root level. The NGO has a few field officers who would initially make a visit to the remote areas and inform the local people well in advance of the clinic day. Furthermore, they ensure that the clinics are run smoothly on the day. So far, this mobile clinic initiative has been a very successful programme, and is considered to be one of the MIOT’s low cost, high impact projects. I am pleased to inform that MIOT is now at the forefront in supporting mobile clinic projects in the Vanni region. As we are currently focussing on the disabled and their families there is huge potential to expand the service to aid vulnerable people in other parts of the North-East. MIOT spent £4,000 in 2019 on this project.

 

Future

The use of telemedicine, new technologies, and improving the quality of care by training local volunteers are a few areas in which further improvements could be made. The MIOT UK would welcome our GPs in the UK, junior Doctors and volunteers to contribute towards this worthwhile project.

 

The Eye Camp Project

This project has been running since 2002 and progressing very well. Our President Mr M Logendran has been co-ordinating this project. The eye camps have been running in many parts of the North, East and Upcountry regions of Sri-Lanka. This year cataract surgeries were done in Vanni. The lenses used were from India due to government restrictions for products from elsewhere. The expense for the project this year was £7,000.  MIOT is proud to report that this project has changed the life of many people in the North, East and Central provinces in Sri Lanka.

 

Hope of Flowers Charity

There was a request from Dr Arul Rajan a long-standing member of MIOT to help mentally handicapped children in Jaffna under the Hope of Flowers charity run by Father Joshua.  MIOT made a one-off donation of £1000 directly to the charity.

 

Nurse Assistant Training Project in Batticaloa District.

Following Easter day Attack in Batticaloa district, Dr Kantha Niranjan appealed to the Central committee to help towards a Woman Empowerment Project.  This was to support 15 girls who were unable to pursue higher studies due to financial constraints. The aim was to help with funding towards a one-year Nursing Assistant course. After approval was received from the Central Committee in July 2019, Dr Niranjan personally visited and initiated the course together with the support of Our Society UK. About £2,500 was allocated for this project and the course is currently progressing.

 

Health Promotion Project in Mullaitivu

The project was initiated by Dr Saratha Natkunarajah who raised the necessary funding with partnership of local resources to support it. She identified the need of health education for females to address many issues including teenage pregnancy. This continues to be running successfully. A funding of £4,000 per annum has been allocated for three years since 2017 for this project.

 

 Medical Student Sponsorship

MIOT is currently sponsoring 18 students. This includes 6 supported by South-East MIOT, 6 by the Central Committee and a further 6 by the Eastern Committee of MIOT.  We commend Dr Velauthapillai who took primary responsibility for this. This year there was a request to increase more student funding.

 

BMJ- Jaffna Medical Faculty

This has been well received in Jaffna and the electronic BMJ has been greatly appreciated by the academic committee in Jaffna.

 

Thilagavathiyar Illam

This is a home for under-privileged girls in Kathiraveli, Vakarai District in the Eastern part of Sri Lanka, supported by MIOT. There are currently 44 girls at this home. MIOT also continues to support 3 more Children’s homes in the Eastern Province of Sri-Lanka which are The Vivekananda Home for Girls at Valaichchenai, Hari Children’s Home for Boys at Kallady, Batticalaoa supported by Northern MIOT and finally ChirumiarIllam which relocated to Kaithady in the Northern Province from Thambulivil supported by Eastern MIOT.I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to all the MIOT members who have been and continue to support our cause.

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