Sri Lanka’s first Palliative Care Centre to open in Anuradhapura

The Government of Sri Lanka, along with Shanthi Foundation, an Australian registered charity, announced its plans to establish Sri Lanka’s first ever Palliative Care Centre in Anuradhapura. This is a joint initiative involving the Presidential Task Force on Prevention of Chronic Kidney Disease, the Ministry of Health, the Sri Lankan High Commission of Australia and the Prime Minister’s Office of Sri Lanka. The project is endorsed by the Palliative Care Association of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Medical Association.

Palliative care is the medical specialty dealing with the physical, psychosocial and spiritual wellbeing of patients diagnosed with life limiting illnesses such as chronic kidney disease (CKDU) and cancer. Currently Sri Lanka has four hospices run by various charities but lacks a specialized palliative care unit to take care of the growing number of CKDU and cancer patients in the nation.

The proposed facility in Anuradhapura, estimated to cost over one million dollars (USD) upon completion, will have the capacity to hold 40 beds and plans to operate a mobile Community Palliative Care Unit (CPCU) to visit patients who are not ambulatory. In addition to a palliative care clinic, the facility will house a training and research unit. The Government of Sri Lanka will provide 5 -10 acres of land on a 99-year lease (free of charge), for this venture. The facility will be located within 5 km from the Anuradhapura hospital. Doctors and nurses working in the Anuradhapura hospital will provide care to the patients who will be referred by the consultant nephrologists, oncologists, etc.

The new facility will greatly benefit the Sri Lankan community by offering terminal patients a reduced symptom burden and better quality of life. It will also reduce crowding in acute hospitals as patients who would normally come to hospitals can be looked after in the center or in their own homes.

The training & research unit will engage in collaborative research with Australian universities and hospitals to ensure that the most up-to-date standards are available in Sri Lanka.

(Press Release Issued by Policy Development Office)