Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Supporting a rural hospital

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Leanne McKenry (Vic) has recently returned from a three month stint as a senior ward nurse with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in tsunami-affected Sri Lanka.

Leanne was a part of an ICRC team that provided assistance as well as technical and material support to the local staff at Puthukkudiyiruppu rural hospital, just outside of Batticaloa on the North East Coast of the country.

Any idea that Leanne may have had of slowly easing into the role went immediately out the door, as within a week of her arrival, she was promoted from ward nurse to head nurse.

Leanne provided support to those in her charge; helping her team establish themselves in unfamiliar surroundings.

She helped them find ways to solve day to day problems, and was responsible for monitoring and recording their activities and performances. Leanne also liaised with hospital management and staff, and provided 'hands on' nursing expertise whenever the need arouse.

The assistance provided by Leanne and the ICRC team meant that in the months following the tsunami, Puthukkudiyiruppu rural hospital was able to provide over 13,700 outpatient consultations and treat 150-200 inpatients per week, ensuring that the medical needs of those affected by the tsunami in the region were met.

'I felt that I was undertaking a very worthwhile humanitarian exercise,' said Leanne, 'and I felt enormous pride in being able to do so.'