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Dialog Axiata gifts fully-functional ICU to Homagama Base Hospital

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Dialog Axiata PLC (Dialog), on the request of the Ministry of Health, gifted a fully functional 10 bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to the Homagama Base Hospital. This initiative forms a part of the company’s ongoing commitment to empower the national health care efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April 2020, Dialog pledged a sum of Rs 200 Million towards the upliftment of Critical Health Infrastructure associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The hallmark pledge by Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider enabled the commissioning of a 10-bed ICU at the Negombo Hospital as the first step.

It also enabled high-speed PCR testing at the Bandaranaike International Airport, drastically reducing testing and reporting time from 8 hours to approximately 2.5 hours.

The fully functional ICU complex at Homagama Base Hospital is equipped with a negative pressure unit that has been specially designed to effectively handle infectious diseases such as the Coronavirus and comes complete with state-of-the-art ICU equipment advancing the hospital’s capability to serve critical patients.

The initiative aims to lessen the pressure on medical staff treating patients with acute illnesses, and add greater value to the training of doctors in intensive care whilst also acting as a catalyst to improve healthcare systems in the district.

Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Minister of Health said, “Dialog Axiata, which has contributed immensely towards the upliftment of the health sector, is a company with a big heart. At the beginning of the pandemic, when we reached out to Dialog to support us with our national efforts towards mitigating COVID-19, Dialog pledged Rs. 200 Million right away to uplift the country’s critical health infrastructure. This pledge facilitated a fully-fledged 10-bed ICU at the Negombo General Hospital and also a Hi-Speed robotic PCR testing at Bandaranaike International Airport. The ICU development at Homagama Base Hospital is the latest initiative that has come to fruition as a result of all these efforts for which we, as Sri Lankans, as a nation, are immensely grateful for.”

Commenting, Bandula Gunawardana, Minister of Trade said, “One of the shortfalls that the Homagama Base hospital, which treats many people, has had for a long time was an established ICU. We are proud to witness the launch of this fully-fledged ICU at the Homagama Base Hospital, complete with all the latest, cutting-edge equipment required for critical care. On behalf of the Government, I would like to express our gratitude towards Dialog Axiata, for taking the initiative and making this a possibility.”

Commenting, Supun Weerasinghe, Group Chief Executive of Dialog Axiata PLC said, “Amidst a year of unprecedented crises, we appreciate the opportunity to establish a fully functional 10-bed ICU at the Homagama Base Hospital as part of our commitment towards supporting the national efforts aimed at combating COVID-19.

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PSC action could cripple health services, warns GMOA Secretary

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There were vacancies for 89 specialist doctors in government teaching hospitals due to certain actions taken by the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said yesterday.

GMOA secretary Dr. Senal Fernando yesterday told The Island those vacancies had the potential to cripple the state health service, as the service was stressed due to COVID-19.

Dr. Fernando said: “Specialist doctors are appointed and transfered according to procedures established by the Health Service Minute. The Ministry of Health is responsible for the transfers and the PSC should oversee the transfering process to ensure that they are made in a proper manner.”

“The PSC has ordered the appointment of a committee to look into the matter but there is no mention of such a committee in the Health Service Minute. Instead of following the process, the PSC has tried to intervene in the process and 89 posts remain vacant during the time of COVID-19,” he said.

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Hizbullah denies links with Zahran

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But signed agreement for Zahran’s help in 2015 GE

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Former Governor of the Eastern Province, M. L. A. M. Hizbullah on Monday night told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing Easter Sunday attacks, that he had not had any links to National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) leader Zahran Hashim. The NTJ members had assaulted his supporters at Kattankudy in March 2017, he said.

Hizbullah said so when the Commissioners asked him about his links with Zahran.

Hizbullah was also asked about billions of rupees he had received from foreign organisations since 2016. Earlier in the day, it was revealed that close to Rs. 4 billion had been deposited by foreign individuals and institutions in two accounts Hizbullah operated at the Bank of Ceylon Colpetty Branch from 2016 to 2019.

The witness said the Sri Lanka Hira Foundation, a social service institution run by him, had received money from foreign countries after March 2016.

“Ali Abdullah al-Juffali of Saudi Arabia gave Rs. 308 million and Siddique and Diana Osmond of London gave Rs. 5.5 million,” he said.

Hizbullah added that he knew al-Juffali and some other Saudi philanthropists. Al Juffali family was one of the richest Saudis with an estimated worth USD 19.8 billion, he said.

Then, a video of a discussion Zahran had with Sibli Farooq of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress was played at the PCoI.

The video showed Zahran and Farooq talking about a sum of one million riyals that Hizbullah had allegedly received from Saudi Arabia. In the video, Zahran says that he had no problem with Hizbullah receiving money from Saudi Arabia.

In response, Hizbullah said that by the 2015 Presidential election, Farooq and Zahran had been against him. A member of the Commission then asked why Hizbullah had entered into an agreement with Zahran during an election if he had acted against him.

Hizbullah said Zahran had told, on social media, that he would support politicians who agreed to some of his proposals.” All the parties joined him. I also went along,” he said. Earlier, it was revealed that representatives for the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC,) Democratic Party, UNP, UPFA and National Front for Good Governance (NFGG) had signed agreements with Zahran in exchange for the support of NTJ in 2015.

Hizbullah was also questioned on the Aliyar clash between NTJ and Sunnath Wal Jamaat, a group that supported Hizbullah, on 10 March, 2017.

“Did you ask Zahran to surrender to the court through his mother?” a member of the Commission questioned.

“I made no such comment. I do not know if anyone in my party did so,” he said.

The Commissioners also asked Hizbullah about growing date palms in the Kattankudy area and placing Arabic billboards.

The witness replied that he had grown date palms because of the high temperatures in the area. Nameplates with Arabic letters had been put up to attract Arabic students as they were largely visiting the area, he said.

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CA annuls summons issued on President

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The Court of Appeal yesterday annulled the summons issued on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the disappearance of two persons in Jaffna in 2011.

Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan went missing in 2011. Last year, Jaffna Magistrate’s Court issued summons on Rajapaksa over a habeas corpus petition filed by the relatives of the two missing activists. They had named Rajapaksa one of the respondents since he was the Defence Secretary at the time of the disappearances.

Earlier, Rajapaksa had submitted a writ application stating that he found it difficult to appear before the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court due to security reasons. The Court of Appeal issued an injunction preventing Rajapaksa being summoned by the Magistrate.

President of the Court of Appeal A. H. M. D. Nawaz, declaring their decision, said that a Magistrate’s Court could only issue summons over a specific reason. However the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court had issued the summons based on a motion of a lawyer and that there was no legal basis for the summons. Thus, the Court of Appeal issued a writ notification declaring the summons issued by the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court void.

 

 

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