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* U.S. support for new hospital in Sri Lanka's former war zone
Fri, Aug 29, 2014, 07:04 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 29, Colombo: As part of a United States government program to support the Northern Provincial Council's work to expand medical services in the former conflict-affected areas of Sri Lanka's Northern Province, the U.S. has supported the construction of Poonakary Divisional Hospital In Kilinochchi district at a cost of US$ 517,000 (approximately Rs. 67 million).

The Northern Provincial Council Ministry of Health opened the Poonakary Divisional Hospital on Wednesday, August 27, 2014.

Michael Honigstein, U.S. Embassy Political Counselor, attended the opening ceremony at the invitation of the Northern Provincial Council Ministry of Health, along with Provincial Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine of Northern Provincial Council Dr. P. Sathiyalingan, Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Small Industries and Entrepreneur Development Douglas Devananda, and Governor of Northern Province G.A. Chandrasiri.

Provincial Minister Sathiyalingam and U.S. Embassy official planted a mango sapling to mark the opening of the hospital.

"This new hospital in Pooneryn, as well as all of the hospitals that we've supported in the former conflict-affected areas in partnership with the government, are helping the Health Minister and the Northern Provincial Council provide access to quality healthcare for tens of thousands of people living in the surrounding communities," said Mr. Honigstein at the opening ceremony.

"This Divisional Hospital will act as the primary hospital in this area until other medical facilities within the Province can be reconstructed or rehabilitated to help alleviate some of the stress that is already being placed on surrounding medical facilities."

The facility consists of two separate buildings, one building with 24 beds and male and female medical wards, and the other consists of a 12-bed maternity ward with a delivery room and a 12-bed pediatric ward. The facility will also offer preventative health services and house public health information offices affiliated with the Ministry of Health.

"We are very proud of our close working relationship with the U.S. Embassy and USAID," said Dr. Sathiyalingam. "These efforts are critical to helping our people in this area improve their standards of living."

This hospital is one of nine that have received US$3.8 million in assistance from the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through combined efforts with organizations like NGO Medical Teams International, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health and Northern Province Directors of Health Services, World Health Organization, and a diverse group of engineers and specialists.

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