MSF hands over its activities and launches new NGO 'SHADE' in Sri Lanka

During the war, access to the north was very limited and health care services suffered intensely from that," said Doug Kittle, Head of Mission. "Within these limits, MSF ran a medical programme in Mallavi and Puthukkudiyiruppu. After the ceasefire, conditions greatly improved.
Colombo - The International medical relief organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has handed over its activities after having worked in Sri Lanka for 18 years. Upon its departure, on March 1, MSF will launch a new Sri Lankan NGO 'SHADE' which will continue the psychosocial programme in Vavuniya town and district. The activities in the North, in Mullaitivu district have been handed over to the local medical staff of the Ministry of Health. Following the ceasefire of February 2002, the Wanni region in the north became accessible and allowed the Ministry of Health to start rehabilitating health services, supported by the international community. "During the war, access to the north was very limited and health care services suffered intensely from that," said Doug Kittle, Head of Mission. "Within these limits, MSF ran a medical programme in Mallavi and Puthukkudiyiruppu. After the ceasefire, conditions greatly improved. For the first time in years hospitals could be adequately stocked with medical supplies and drugs. Since then health indicators and referral options have improved, enabling MSF to hand over its activities to local health workers." The new NGO, 'SHADE' will continue the psychosocial care programme in Vavuniya. A lot of people remain traumatized by their war experiences and for them a continuation of psychosocial services is essential. Many former MSF national staff will work for SHADE. The new organisation will work in collaboration with the District Ministry of Health. MSF has been working in northern Sri Lanka since 1994 and operated a maternity assistance programme at Puthukkudiyiruppu hospital in Mullaitivu district and a psychosocial support programme in Vavuniya town and district. An extensive medical assistance programme in Mallavi, including surgical support, closed in April 2002. MSF thanks all current and former staff for their dedication and hard work in bringing health services to the population in the north of Sri Lanka north over the last 18 years. MSF could not have done it without their commitment.