Sri Lanka Red Cross Society sheds light on people’s lives in Kolonnawa, Sri Lanka

Posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2023

By Meleeza Rathnayake (Assistant Manager, Reporting & Communications of SLRCS)

Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) has always been at the forefront of assisting people, and the Kolonnawa area was identified as an area within the country that required significant attention. For a long time, the Colombo District Branch of the SLRCS provided structural responses to Kolonnawa residents.

Kolonnawa is a town in the Western Province of Sri Lanka that is located on the eastern boundary of the Colombo District. SLRCS assisted the residents of the area in a variety of ways, focusing on their basic needs and sufferings. Health and medical needs, dengue prevention campaigns, public cleaning, and many other projects have been funded by the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescents’ (IFRC’s) Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF).

On February 13, 2023, a medical camp was held in the Gothatuwa Medical Officer of Health (MOH) area of Kolonnawa to assist residents with their needs. The country’s ongoing economic crisis has disrupted many lives, and the country’s medicinal shortage is a hot topic, with the SLRCS supporting the needs through numerous projects. More than 200 people received medical advice, routine check-ups, and other medicinal needs, the majority of whom were elderly. Such medical camps took place in Sedawatta, Angoda, Mulleriyawa, and Kotikawatta in the Kolonnawa area.

With the country’s ongoing economic crisis, the health factor is vital in the lives of Sri Lankans due to the medicinal shortage in the country, and the SLRCS has reached out to lend a helping hand with medicine, medical equipment to the country’s health system and medical camps throughout the country, to name a few.

“This is a great service towards our community by SLRCS along with the Divisional Secretariat and the MOH of the area. I’ve been having a pain in the neck and feeling dizzy every now and then for a while, and I couldn’t get the necessary medication before this. However, the medical camp provided me with the necessary medical advice and medication,” said a 65-year-old woman from Halmulla, Kolonnawa, who visited the camp.

The medical camps were overcrowded with hundreds of beneficiaries, and these activities were carried out in response to the flood effects of 2022. Kolonnawa is a culturally diverse area in the Colombo District, and the SLRCS staff and volunteers never abandoned the residents.

When the team of SLRCS was in conversation with a few, there was an elderly man living in Kurusa Kanuwa who commended the collaborative work of the SLRCS and the other partnering organisations, saying, “I have not visited any clinic since January of last year as I have felt it was very hard and the needed medicines were also not received.” Furthermore, we need to buy the medicines from the pharmacy, so there have been numerous difficulties. I decided to go to the clinic at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Angoda this morning because I had heard good things about it, but we still had to buy medicines from the pharmacy. At that point, when I was on the road, I heard an announcement about the medical camp, and my wife insisted that I visit the medical camp. I have diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, but I haven’t been able to afford the medications.However, since the time I visited the medical camp, the SLRCS staff and volunteers and the doctors present have advised me and been a source of strength, telling me not to worry and to take all the medicines here. They also assure me that they will clear a path for my clinic visits so that my medications are not disrupted.”

The relevant beneficiary was the tea and egg business, which had collapsed as a result of the country’s economic crisis. He is 65 years old, his wife is 64 years old, and they have two young married children currently serving the government.

Aside from the medical camps, there were dengue campaigns in the Kolonnawa area that reached 5,000 households. Dengue fever is an ongoing epidemic that must be addressed both within the country and globally.

SLRCS has been addressing the disease in all of the country’s districts. Kolonnawa was designated as a critical area in the dengue operation. SLRCS staff and volunteers, with the assistance of the MOH’s Dengue Unit, visited every house, advising on the areas that had to be cleaned and the precautions that needed to be taken to eliminate the spread of mosquitoes.

The operation consists of three visits, each with a progress card that is filled out. If the recommendations are not met by the third visit, the household will be reported to the relevant Public Health Inspector (PHI) and MOH office.

Furthermore, public areas that collect water and drains that became clogged during floods in the Angoda and Mulleriyawa areas of Kolonnawa were cleaned. More than six cleanups have been implemented in the area.

The operation was carried out by the SLRCS Colombo Branch, while the people of the area, including the PHIs, were overwhelmed by the SLRCS’s assistance. When the SLRCS arrived in the area, the acting PHI stated, “During floods, the area suffers immensely; we have tried for a long time, and it is an immense pleasure to have SLRCS implement such an initiative in this area. “It is such a great service rendered in order to eradicate diseases

and promote a cleaner and healthier lifestyle for the people in the area.” The area is divided among 800 families, which is around 3,000 people. People in the area also stated that they suffered greatly during the previous flood and required extensive assistance.

Sri Lanka Red Cross Society is always at the forefront of serving the people, and the people of Kolonnawa shared their thoughts with smiles on their faces and gratitude in their hearts. It’s about serving people.