26th August 2021 16:14:18 Hours
The untiring efforts of Army troops in order to expand the existing ward capacity at Colombo South Teaching Hospital, in close consultation with health authorities, completed the establishment of three more new wards in the eight-storied building in the hospital complex.
The project, considered as another giant emergency move, undertaken by the Army as per Presidential directives was fully supported by the Army Seva Vanitha Unit (ASVU) and all three converted wards with 250 beds were formally vested in the Colombo South Teaching Hospital authorities this morning (26) by General Shavendra Silva, Head, National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, together with Mrs Sujeewa Nelson, President, Army Seva Vanitha Unit who was instrumental in providing the project with all accessories and furniture.
The Sri Lanka Army Ordnance Corps (SLAOC) factory in Dombagoda within a day in a striking dedication manufactured the first set of 150 iron beds to match with recommended ward specifications on the directions of the Army Chief, no sooner than the Presidential directive wanted the building floors be used for this emergency purpose as early as possible. The remaining 100 beds are to be supplied within next 48 hours according to Brigadier Priyantha Weerasinghe, Director, Directorate of Ordnance Services.
The ASVU taking note of the essentials provided 250 mattresses, 300 bedsheets, 300 pillow cases, 300 pillows, bedside cupboards and other pieces of furniture as well as accessories to those three wards, in which an emergency treatment section and a reserved section with a set of beds for affected little children are also available. The continuing increase of COVID-19 patients prompted the Army to assist further expansion of treatment capacity in this hospital by establishing three new wards on priority basis.
At the location, Dr. Sagari Kiriwandeniya - Director Colombo South Teaching Hospital, Major General Sujeewa Senerath Yapa, Commander, Security Forces-West, together with Major General Crishantha Gnanarathna, General Officer Commanding, 14 Division and Dr. Lasitha Malalasekara - Deputy Director Colombo South Teaching Hospital welcomed the Army Chief, General Shavendra Silva and Mrs Sujeewa Nelson on arrival before all of them had a close look at those converted wards, located in three separate floors.
General Shavendra Silva and Mrs Sujeewa Nelson afterwards symbolized the formal handover by presenting a stock of essentials to the Hospital Director before the Army Chief had an exchange of views with medical specialists present at the location including Consultant Paediatricians - Dr. Shanthini Ganeshan, Dr. Ruwanthi Perera and Dr. Shiran Fernando, Senior Medical Officers - Dr. Chula Senaratne, Dr. Muditha Palliyaguruge, Dr. Damitha Piyadigama and Dr. Sandaruwan Chief Matron Rasika Priyadharshini where he discussed matters, related to logistics of the wards and other operational needs, for which the Army Chief on the spot pledged the Army's maximum support in case of any need as such.
The challenge for conversion of those three wards inside an incomplete storeyed hospital building at the earliest was promptly and committedly undertaken by troops of the Security Force HQ-West, 14 Division HQ and other logistics battalions, just a few days ago under the close guidance and the 24hr supervision of Major General Sujeewa Senerath Yapa, Commander Security Forces-West, Major General Crishantha Gnanarathna,General Officer Commanding, 14 Division, Brigadier Thushara Balasoriya- Brigadier Coordination ASVU, Brigade Commanders under the SFHQ-West and the 14 Division, comprised of all Commanding Officers, Sri Lanka Engineers and all other logistics battalions.
Mrs Sujeewa Nelson, President, ASVU with several other ASVU members was instrumental in getting all accessories and other essentials to all three wards, keeping pace with the overnight conversion of the wards at the Colombo South Teaching Hospital.
Since of recent times, the Army as per directions of the Head, NOCPCO has been engaged in converting hospital wards, abandoned factory buildings, allocated industry buildings, unused state locations, etc to serve as emergency treatment wards or ICCs in the face of looming threat of the virus transmission and the surge of more and more positive cases.