March 16, 2009

Sri Lankan doctors not happy with Indian medical team

Sri Lanka’s government doctors have threatened to take legal action and go on a strike to express their opposition to the presence of an Indian medical team in north-east Sri Lanka to treat the sick and the wounded from the war-zone.
President of the All Ceylon Medical Officers’ Association (ACMOA) Dr Nishantha Dassanayake, said in a statement published in the media on Saturday, that the members of the association were opposing the presence of Indian doctors for several valid reasons.
Firstly, the government had not gone through the proper procedure for allowing foreign doctors to work in Sri Lanka.

Secondly, it was not clear what procedures the Indian doctors would follow in treating the patients, and what remedies there would be, in case treatments went wrong.
Thirdly, when there were so many Sri Lankan doctors who could work in the area concerned, what was the need to bring in Indian doctors? Fourthly, why, inspite of Pulmoddai already having a hospital, has the Indian hospital been based in the same area, when instead the nearby Padaviya could have been expanded and improved? Lastly, the association claims that the presence of Indian army doctors have posed a challenge to the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.
“If the Minister of Health turns a deaf ear to our demand, we will get all other unions also to go on strike,” Dassanayake said.
Health Minister Nimal Sripala de Silva however told newspersons that “all clearances” had been obtained before the Indian team arrived. It was done in a record two weeks’ time, in view of the emergency situation in the north-east.
A 52-member Indian medical team comprising military and civil doctors and other auxiliary medical personnel, arrived here earlier in the week.

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