Investment in healthcare services has been made in northern Sri Lanka, where up to 400m Rupees has been ploughed into a new complex at Polonnaura general hospital including a new liquid oxygen storage system.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement have made a long term commitment towards rebuilding Sri Lanka’s health sector and their post-tsunami health infrastructure development programme is constructing and renovating a total of 77 health facilities, across 16 districts of Sri Lanka under an MoU agreed with the Ministry of Health.

Investment in healthcare services is often seen as a strong growth driver for the industrial gas business and statistics from the Spiritus Group estimate that healthcare services as an end-user industry for the gases industry will show a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% for the period 2006-2011.

In terms of the investment made in northern Sri Lanka, a new three story building complex will be constructed at Polonnaura general hospital that will bring improvements to the level of healthcare provided to the people of Polonnaruwa district, and neighbouring areas.

Polonnaruwa is one of the districts in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka where the majority of the population depends on agriculture. This General Hospital is the main health facility available for the people in the district who come from far distant rural areas and during the inauguration ceremony, the liquid oxygen storage system constructed with CRC funding was also handed over to hospital authorities.

The building construction project was initiated by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society under the post Tsunami recovery programme, with the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) Society spending 366m Rupees for the construction of the new building and 50m Rupees to provide the required medical equipment.

The aforementioned 77 projects include the construction, renovation or refurbishment of wide range of health care facilities including district and base level hospitals as well as clinics and dispensaries. Construction of nurse training centres and providing six oxygen storage facilities at different hospitals are also included.

The Red Cross will be equipping most of these facilities with medical equipment which ranges from hospital beds to sophisticated X-ray and ultrasound machines.