The District Base hospital in Dickoya located on a five-acre land just about 3 kilometers away from the Hatton town, boasts of a vast history dating back to 1885. It’s the most recognized health institution in the region and caters to more than 25,000 individuals per month through its Out-Patient Department (OPD), in-patient care, and clinics covering the Ambagamuwa, Bogowantalawa, Maskeliya, Kotagala and Lindula MOH areas.
The hospital was constructed over 155 years ago during British colonial rule. Later on, the Sri Lankan Government decided to increase the capacity of the hospital by constructing a two-storey building. It was renovated and was declared open in 2017. However, during the initial assessments conducted by ADRA and Oxfam through the European Union funded ACCEND (Assisting Communities in Creating Environmental and Nutritional Development) project, it was discovered that the hospital does not have access to clean water. Therefore, ADRA and Oxfam took the necessary steps to establish water purification systems. The existing water source was renovated, and a new well was constructed. Once pumped from the well, water is filtered and stored in existing tanks which can be used later on. The project also ensured that few minor staff were allocated and trained to maintain these water systems.
In addition to that, ADRA and Oxfam discovered that lavatories in certain wards including several female and children’s wards were in poor conditions. Through the assessments conducted by the project, ADRA found out that the patients in these wards were facing extreme challenges when fulfilling their sanitation needs. Hence, the project renovated and established disable friendly and gender-sensitive latrines.
60-year-old Rasamma from the Shannon estate of the G.T. Division was admitted to the Dickoya Hospital four years ago. According to her she had a bad experience as the washrooms were inaccessible through wheelchairs. “I had such a bad experience. The toilets were inaccessible by wheelchairs, there was no water and you could smell the toilets from the next ward. This time when I fell ill again, I was worried I will experience the same, but I was very pleasantly surprised since for the first time I could take my wheelchair inside the toilet and use all the facilities with minimum help from my caretaker, and I find this very dignifying. Furthermore, they had also installed a sanitary pad disposal unit, which is great. I am no longer worried to come to this hospital,” said Rasamma.
Sister Deepani Samaradasa who is the nurse in charge of the Surgical Ward also appreciated our intervention through the project. She stated that many of the patients admitted in the surgical wards are wheelchair users and that there was only one latrine that could accommodate wheelchairs in the entire ward. “This made work extremely difficult not only on the staff but on the patient and their caretakers. These renovations couldn’t be more relevant and timelier. It has immensely reduced the congestions and improved the well-being of patients. Before constructions, the latrines were extremely unclean and unhygienic due to the overuse of the very little facilities but now even the cleaning staff is motivated to keep the facilities clean,’’ she said.