September 23, 2019
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    Sri Lanka Army Opens New Hospital in South Sudan

    August 08, 2014

    The Sri Lanka Army, taking its increased and matured professionalism to foreign shores with an urgent medical project at the request of the UN, succeeded in establishing its first-ever SRIMED Level 2 Hospital in Bor, South Sudan under the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) which has been reportedly hailed as ‘one of the fastest and well-planned projects ever seen in Mission Director’s entire UN career’.

    The establishment of the hospital came to the fore as a result of fruitful negotiations, initiated by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, together with Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, Commander of the Army in January, this year after a five-member UNMISS delegation, arrived in Sri Lanka for feasible implementation of the project, thanks to subtle diplomatic manoeuvres of Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr Palitha Kohona and Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Major General Shavendra Silva.


    Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, responding positively to the project upon meeting the delegation, forthwith initiated several rounds of extensive discussions with Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps (SLAMC), in order to assess the capabilities for establishment of this first ever overseas Hospital in South Sudan, slated to provide second line health care to all UN personnel serving there.


    Lieutenant General Ratnayake’s prompt efforts, coupled with his committed leadership, irrespective of pressing hardships and challenges, finally came to fruition and Sri Lanka thus became the first country to deploy a surge contingent in South Sudan in keeping with the UN Security Council request to all countries for assistance after crisis struck South Sudan in December, last year.


    The formal opening ceremony saw Ms Stephani Scheer, Director, Mission Support, UNMISS as the Chief Guest inaugurate the new SRIMED Level 2 Hospital, manned entirely by Sri Lanka’s SLAMC personnel on July 25, in the presence of the UNMISS Force Commander, Lieutenant General Johannes Tesfamarium, the Guest of Honour at the inaugural ceremony.


    Impressed with ultra modern facilities and medical equipment, all supplied and installed by the Sri Lanka Army, in addition to the provision of two ambulances, four trucks and two cabs, the Chief Guest for the opening, Ms Stephani Scheer, has reportedly gone on record saying that SRIMED Level 2 Hospital was one of the well-planned and fastest projects she has ever seen in her entire UN career.


    South Sudan’s SRIMED Hospital with its 66 Sri Lankan Army staff, is commanded by Consultant Epidemiologist, Lieutenant Colonel Saveen Semage and managed by four specialists, Lieutenant Colonel Sherman Fernando, Consultant Physician, Lieutenant Colonel Percy Dias, Consultant Surgeon, Lieutenant Colonel Chevindra Bopitiya, Consultant, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Lieutenat Colonel Arul Murali, Consultant Anaesthetist.


    This new SRIMED Hospital, equipped with necessary components for secondary care medical services, including an operating theatre, labour room, intensive care unit, emergency department, out-patient department, dental surgery, dental workshop, pharmacy, medical store, radiology department, clinical laboratory, ECG room, sterilizing department, bio medical engineering section, medical waste disposal section, freezer mortuary, isolation ward and laundry plus wards, also enjoys aero medical evacuation facility with ambulatory resuscitation and ventilation capabilities.


    The first SRIMED UN Peace-Keepers medal awarding ceremony, attended by Major General Sanjeewa Munasinghe, Colonel Commandant, SLAMC, has been scheduled for 25 August 2014 in South Sudan.


    The opening ceremony of the new SRIMED Hospital, got to a start after arrival of the Chief Guest, Ms Stephani Scheer, Director, Mission Support, UNMISS to be greeted with a Guard Turnout in accordance with military traditions.


    Hoisting of the Sri Lanka’s National Flag, UNMISS flag and the SLAMC flag, ensued a symbolic tree planting and oil lamp lighting, which set the stage to unveil a plaque. The brief meeting afterwards, attended by several UNMISS commanders in the province was addressed by Ms Stephani Scheer, Lieutenant Colonel Saveen Semage, SRIMED Commanding Officer and one more UN official, present at the meeting.


    Sri Lanka Army’s entry into South Sudan as the newest member in the UN peace keeping family, marks a milestone in the Army history, and is a reflection of the recognition it has gained in the UN system with its troops, already committed in the UN Headquarters, Haiti, Congo, Western Sahara and Lebanon under different UN Missions as observers, staff officers and peacekeeping contingents.(ST/Army)

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