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An Aussie Doctor’s experience in the Vanni

September 29, 2009

Pulled up from the archives of the Medical Journal of Australia –

Teaching Tamil Tigers

“…Driving north from Colombo to Jaffna, I was struck by the poverty on the Tamil side of the armed border, the lack of facilities in the hospital in Kilinochchi (the administrative centre of the “Tamil” land) and the dilapidation of the tertiary hospital in Jaffna. Only the crowds in the corridors and the patients on the floors obscured the filth on the walls and passageways. Nothing obscured the suffering of apparently half-dead people being carried on bare metal stretchers at perilous angles up and down the stairs, buffeted in the surge. I was struck by the whites of their fingers as they clung to the metal. Nothing prevented the recycling of dengue through unscreened windows from sullage that pooled from broken pipes alongside the wards. One piddling tap leaned vainly against cross-infection in the crowded children’s barn. Why was this hospital so different to the many I had visited in the Sinhalese areas? I later learned of economic sanctions and underfunding by Colombo…”

Read full article here.

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