Since September 2007, we have been holding free clinic days in Waitalawa Village located in Sri Lanka’s upcountry highlands. The village consists of fourth generation tea estate workers, descendants of Tamil laborers originally brought to Sri Lanka by the English during colonial times. The clinic facility is located in the British plantation manager’s former residence. We are fortunate to have three doctors contributing their time, equipment and broad experience in helping this community since there is no local access to medical care. A typical clinic day means seeing 80 or more patients from morning to dusk. For many of these villagers it may be their first visit with a doctor. The lack of medical support in the region means that people come from neighboring villages looking for assistance.

Our volunteer doctors handle a wide variety of cases and refer villagers to the hospital in the city when needed. We recently diagnosed one woman with TB and immediately referred her to the hospital but she told us that she could not go. It turned out that she lacked even the few cents bus fare for the trip. One of our doctors reached in his pocket and she was on her way. And just last January we were able to save the life of a young mother and unborn baby in fetal distress.

The clinic costs us about $350 a day in supplies. Currently we are able to afford one clinic day a month, however, the need is greater.

 

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