Hospital volunteers trained in northern Sri Lanka

The MSF team in Mallavi, Sri Lanka, has recently trained 35 volunteers who will assist with basic care in the local hospital. Mallavi is a town in the northern part of Sri Lanka held by the LTTE. MSF is carrying out an extensive hospital programme there, which also comprises general and obstetric surgery and paediatric care. "This is a significant achievement", says Health Advisor Yared Kebede, just back from a project visit to Sri Lanka. "Due to the war situation, qualified staff is hardly available in the north. The government is still supporting the health care infrastructure there, but is doing so in a very limited way." MSF is also working in Puthukkudiyiruppu (PTK), on the eastern coast. Although bombardments on the coast are still occurring, the team is safe and can continue its work. Another location where MSF is working is Vavuniya, close to the front line, where it is carrying out a psychosocial programme for internally displaced people. "The main problem is still supplying the north", says Yared. "We are continuously lobbying the government to improve the situation, but it is also time that both opposing forces start taking more responsibility for health care services for the population. MSF has a big role in advocating for this."