50 mobile hospitals to prevent epidemics
Health sector trade unions which were often at odds with each other and staged regular strikes causing more suffering to patients have come together in the aftermath of the tsunami catastrophe to serve the people.

The Health Services Trade Union Alliance comprising about 80,000 paramedical personnel is setting up about 50 mobile health camps or hospitals, mainly in areas where hospitals have been damaged or destroyed.

HSTUA leader Ravi Kumudesh said all paramedical personnel affiliated to the alliance had volunteered to serve in these mobile hospitals. The People's Movement for the Rights of Patients is cooperating with the HSTUA in running these mobile hospitals for victims of the catastrophe.

A PMRP spokesman said the Government Medical Officers Association had agreed to provide volunteer doctors for these mobile hospitals. The move by the HSTUA in association with the GMOA and PMRP came as experts warned of possible epidemics among millions of people who have taken refuge in makeshift camps.

The experts said contaminated food and water or decomposing bodies could set off epidemics of cholera, dysentery, typhoid or hepatitis and the consequences might be as dreadful as last Sunday's earthquake and tidal waves.

Due to sea pollution and the breakdown of the sewerage system the water in the devastated districts is known to be contaminated and clean water for the refugees is a vital need.

Meanwhile the Pharmaceutical Society of Sri Lanka has called for volunteers to serve in the devastated areas. Those willing to volunteer could contact the Secretary on telephone number: 0777 - 656133.

The People’s Movement for the Rights of Patients which collaborated with other groups in sending four lorry loads of aid to Mullaitivu last Thursday is collecting more aid for distribution in worst affected areas. Those who wish to contribute especially medical supplies are requested to hand them over at the PMRP centre No. 15 Quarry (Atapattu) Road, Dehiwela or telephone 2724286 or 2789281

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