Areas affected by the war in the North and East of Sri Lanka are still recovering from the three decade long civil war that ceased in 2009. Local health care provision, whilst making tremendous achievements against all the odds, is still sub-optimal.
In particular, the whole of Northern Province, with a population of over 1,000,000 is served by only 3 cardiologists – 2 in Jaffna district and 1 in Vavuniya district. However, there is no cardiology or echocardiogram (echo/ ultrasound scan of the heart) service in the other three districts of the Northern Province (Mannar, Killinochi and Mullaitivu).
The Health Ministry of Northern Province has requested Assist RR to help reduce the work load on the three cardiologists by providing free echocardiogram clinics in the first instance in Mannar, which has a population of approximately 100,000 people and has a long list of patients for echo or cardiology input. As there is no cardiologist in Mannar, the patients will have to make long and uncomfortable journeys to Jaffna or Vavuniya to see the specialist. Therefore Assist RR will run echo clinics every 3 months with the help of volunteer echo specialists from abroad. We will aim to scan 250 patients in one week.
This is an exciting opportunity for cardiologists and physiologists who can perform echocardiogram on a voluntary basis. We have teamed up with Dr Mayooran Shanmuganathan, a cardiologist from the UK, to hold regular echocardiogram clinics. Our first project will be in Mannar, in the North of Sri Lanka. The local general physicians who are in charge of these patients will organise them to attend our week long echo clinic in June 2017. The echo reports will go back to the general physicians, who will then decide on the appropriate management and/or referral to the tertiary cardiac centres.