RCCR President Kasun Hewamallika handing over the HNFC Units to PHB Medical Superintendent Dr. Mrs. Indrani Godakanda
The Rotary Club of Colombo Regency (RCCR) has offered to help Panadura Base Hospital(PBH) at a time when the hospital has been overwhelmed with patients apart and lack of other facilities. The Daily mirror spoke to the RCCR to obtain details of the help it extended in the form of a COVID relief project.
Act of kindness
The PBH’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) didn’t have the facilities to handle demands for urgent oxygen therapy and carting cylinders was not an option. The PBH was desperately in need of an interim fully equipped High Dependency Unit (HDU). A HDU offers oxygen immediately and serves as a pre-ICU ward. The PBH’s critical need was a system combining oxygen supplied from a central oxygen concentrator via a network of copper tubes to 20 beds (expandable to 40) across three wards, and High-Flow-Nasal-Oxygen Cannula (HFNC) units for more critical patients. Hence last month the RCCR donated a wall oxygen system for 20 outlets, three HFNC devices and 20 oxygen regulators. The collective effort spearheaded by the RCCR members has come to fruition.
The project was initiated in mid-May. The task of completing the project was possible due to the commitment and the generous support of contributors. The RCCR needed to collect Rs 5.7 million.
Base Hospital Panadura
Worthy of praise
The RCCR project report said, “Projects related to saving human lives are a matter of seconds. When Regency became aware of the situation on May 16 the situation was already dire, and we could only work on an accelerated mode. Lives were already at stake due to the inability to provide the oxygen and not due to ‘lack of the oxygen” itself. Wall units meant the ward could not be occupied during the installation and we also had to contend with travel restrictions and take care of those serving the units and the travelling of club members. A timeline was induced and within 60 minutes of this announcement we were able to raise the required Rs. 1.3 million for the Oxygen wall unit from among the Club members.”
Speaking to the Daily Mirror the project’s Co-Chair Past President Rtn. Gehan de Alwis said it was through social media that the RCCR started the project and funds were raised. He said, “We got a request through one of our charter members who had a close link to the PBH. The Hospital was in an urgent need to get an oxygen supply as it was looking at converting the ward to an HDU. The PBH was looking for assistance. Within minutes of receiving this request via our club WhatsApp group, we decided to take this project on. We made a decision to focus specifically on oxygen based or breathing based solutions”.
Rtn. de Alwis said HDU was a pre-ICU ward which the PBH desperately needed as everybody could not be taken to the ICU. “They did not have a place to keep the patients who were in the normal wards. There weren’t enough facilities to provide these patients with oxygen supply. We identified the biggest issue was not to find a bed to sleep on in this case, but oxygen. So, we decided to focus on oxygen and then we started with an oxygen wall unit which can treat up to 20 patients. We are happy that people are willing to come forward and we were encouraged to collect more. We shared request messages to other international Rotary clubs and international organisations. They came forward and we were able to secure funds within seven days. On the 10th day, the project was completed,” he said.
When asked whether the RCCR was expecting to extend its reach and initiate similar projects in future, Rtn. de Alwis said, “We started with the PBH project and while we were doing it, we got requests from hospitals in Kurunegala, Matale and Kegalle. Then we started our phase two analysis and collection. We will update our Facebook, Instagram and our blog when initiating our phase two and phase three projects .
The RCCR is a voluntary service organisation in Sri Lanka. The RCCR is also a part of Rotary International, which has a history of more than a century. Rotary International is one of the largest voluntary service organisations in the world, which was also responsible towards helping eradicate the dreaded polio virus from Sri Lanka and the world.
With the first Rotary Club formed in 1905 at Chicago in the United States, Rotary became the world’s first service organisation, and has since then expanded to 1.2 million members in more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in 200 countries and geographical areas across the world. Rotary clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and are open to people of all cultures, races, and creed.
As signified by the motto ‘Service Above Self’, Rotary’s main objective is service – in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world.
Those who wish to contact the RCCR may find more information on www.rotarycregency.org