The relief and development organisation, Americares, donated multipurpose first-aid boxes to be used by the field staff in the Kaluthara District, at the two workshops held in Kaluthara, at the request of the Disaster Preparedness and Response Division of the Health Ministry.
Several samples of the boxes were handed over to the director general of health services in Sri Lanka at the Health Ministry. The workshops were conducted by experts in the fields of emergency/disaster management and psychosocial/mental health.
In collaboration with the regional director of health services (RDHS) in Kaluthara, Americares recruited community support officers (CSO) to be deployed in six medical officer of health (MoH) areas. The CSOs fulfil the important task of visiting households in the flood-affected areas to identify and refer individuals and groups that require psychosocial support. To ensure the officers have the skills they need, Americares facilitated the workshops.
Americares Sri Lanka Team Leader Asanga Ranasinghe stated, “We, at Americares, wish to equip the CSOs with the right knowledge and information. The workshop and training no doubt increased their confidence to carry out their current and future duties as CSOs, attached to MoH offices, in disaster-affected areas in the Kalutara District.”
Dr. Novil Wijesekera conducted a training workshop themed ‘Prelude to Humanitarian Practice’ to 15 Americares staff in Kalutara. The areas covered included sphere standards, psychological first aid (PFA) and basics of preparing for hazard, vulnerability and risk maps.
The subject matter was successfully delivered through interesting sessions and over the course of three days, relevant knowledge and certain skills were imparted. The feedback from the participants was also very favourable as they found the training methods to be both practical and relevant.
Samutthana, which is the King’s College of London Resource Centre for Trauma, Displacement and Mental Health, conducted a three-day training on mental healthcare training. The areas covered on the first two days included introduction to mental health, empathy, active listening, understanding trauma and trauma response (immediate and delayed). On the third day, the 15 participants discussed about gender-based violence and analysed actual cases from their field experience. At the request of the Health Ministry in Sri Lanka, Americares immediately mobilised in the aftermath of the floods in May this year. Americares launched an emergency response and an early recovery programme was launched in Matara and Kaluthara and began plans to renovate damaged health centres in the Bulathsinhala area.
In Matara, Americares also distributed 300 hygiene kits to children and adults at two safe locations serving as temporary shelters in Matara. Hygiene packs and water bottles were distributed in Matara.
In collaboration with the RDHS in Kaluthara, Americares recruited 14 CSOs to be deployed in six MoH areas. The CSOs fulfil the important task of visiting households in the flood-affected areas to identify and refer individuals and groups who require psychosocial support.
Ranasinghe stated, “We, at Americares, wish to equip the CSOs with the right knowledge and information. The workshop and training no doubt increased their confidence to carry out their current and future duties as CSOs, attached to MoH offices, in disaster-affected areas in the Kalutara District.”
In addition, Americares identified two maternal and child health (MCH) clinics in the Bulathsinhala area that were damaged.
Americares is a health-focused disaster relief and humanitarian aid development organisation providing immediate response to emergency medical needs and supporting long-term healthcare initiatives in the United States as well as abroad.
It responds to people affected by poverty or disaster with life-changing health programmes, medicine and medical supplies. Americares has been working in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the tsunami, since 2005 and completed many projects, including the construction of four-story ward complex at the Elpitiya Base Hospital and four-story ward complex at the Trincomalee District General Hospital.