- Lack of proper attention by Family Health officers, Samurdhi officers, Economic Development officers serving in the villages have probably led to this tragedy
- It is the failure of officers to identify the basic needs of the people in their respective areas. This has deprived this poor family of the relief meant for them
Saddened with the heart-breaking news of the 11-month-old child, who died of starvation, the Hambantota District Secretary said this is a tragedy that could have been avoided if we remained attentive to the difficulties of the poor families as the cause of the death has been pronounced as malnutrition.
The Divisional Secretary Bandula Harishchandra revealed these at an event held in the presence of State Minister Dileep Wedaarachchi and several government officials. Everyone in the audience seemed moved by the revelation made by the Divisional Secretary.
He said this being a significant incident of humanity, we went to meet the parents of this poor child - Malik Mihiranga Rajapaksa, who died of starvation living in Vijepura Nadigamwila Grama Niladari Division in Tissamaharama. It was revealed that the father of the child Thusitha Chandana Rajapaksa, is a fish vendor engaged in selling fish visiting homes in the village. He earns a meagre income by selling the fish bought from a fisherman. They have to depend on this income for their food, clothing, children’s education and all
Thusitha and his wife have four children. The two elder children are studying at the Nedigamwila Vidyalaya. They have to walk about three kilometres from home to the school. Their school uniforms are wornout and torn as they use to wear the same clothes even after coming from the school due to lack of alternative clothes.
“I am too poor to feed my children with nutritious food but I work hard to make ends meet to the best of my ability, Thusitha said” .
Thusitha’s wife with tears in her eyes said: “My child died on May 14, doctors in Hambantota Hospital said after the post mortem that the child died from malnutrition. My husband’s income is not sufficient to run a family of five people. Now it is a long time since we bought a packet of milk powder for the children.
We can’t afford to buy them. Our children live with hunger- but we are helpless, because of poverty. Like other parents we too love our children. After the death of my child, to date, we have’nt prepared milk rice”.
"I am too poor to feed my children with nutritious food but I work hard to make ends meet to the best of my ability. My husband’s income is not sufficient to run a family of five people"
The District Secretary gave a lenghty account of the story saying “When we were at their home on Monday (17) the children had taken their breakfast of rice with potato curry and sambol and their lunch was rice with dhal.
He further said that there are several government officers to look after the needs of the people in the villages. Lack of proper attention by Family Health officers, Samurdhi officers, Economic Development officers serving in the villages have probably led to this tragedy.
“Did this family receive the bag of nutrition food provided by the government. Did they receive Samurdhi allowance. We must examine these lapses by the officers who are responsible to look into the plight of poor families. “It is the failure of officers to identify the basic needs of the people in their respective areas. This has deprived this poor family of the relief meant for them. Don’t think of your comfort by staying in office would serve the purpose you are appointed for. Consciousness of accountability is more important while performing your duties. If you continue to stay complacent amidst this situation, we will also continue to witness similar tragedies in the future,” he further said drawing the attention of all the officers responsible for social problems.
He pointed out that there are numerous Ministers, Parliamentarians, Provincial Councillors and PS members to represent the Hambantota District. The District is privileged with an International Harbour and an Airport, and wide roads with several lanes spread throughout the district, also an International Cricket Ground but there are children dying of starvation as well in Hambantota.
Family Health Service officers threaten TU action
By W. A. Piyathilleke - Hingurakgoda
The Chairperson of the Government Family Health Service (FHS) officers Association Devika Kodituwakku speaking to the Media in Hingurakgoda yesterday warned that if allegations are levelled at the Family Health officers, blaming them for the death of the child in Nedigamwila in Tissamaharama due to malnutrition, all FHS officers island-wide would abstain from their duties and resort to trade union action.
She said further that various politicians are now bent on scoring marks over the death of the eleven -month old infant of Gayathri Indika the mother resident in Nedigamwila coming under the administration of Medical Health Officer of Tissamaharama, by blaming the Family Health Officers.
The Family Health Officer of the area had performed her duties from the time of the pregnancy of the mother and even after the child was born. Certain politicians are now attempting to gain popularity by levelling charges continuously against the Family Health Officer concerned.
In every village there are six other government officials, and it is their duty to provide necessary food for the deceased child and the family. We are not ready to accept the charges levelled against us without conducting any investigation.