Teaching Hospital Karapitiya, Galle, is the main teaching hospital for the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. During the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami disaster the hospital’s ability to respond to the emergency was limited, as it had little emergency and trauma treatment capacity. The Government of Victoria indicated its commitment to assist post-tsunami reconstruction in Sri Lanka.


Key Objectives & Outcomes

The overall objective of the Health for the South project was to establish an Emergency and Trauma service capability at Teaching Hospital Karapitiya (THK) in response to a Sri Lankan Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition (MOH) identified need. THK and the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna University (FMUR) also identified accident and emergency services as THK’s highest clinical priority.

To enhance THK’s ability to provide emergency and trauma treatment, initiatives were identified that would:

• Improve initial assessment, resuscitation and stabilisation of critically unwell patients presenting to THK;

• Improve patient outcomes by reducing delay to definitive treatment; and

• Develop THK’s capacity to respond to disaster and mass casualty situations.

A key aspect of the Health for the South project was the construction of a multi storey Emergency and Trauma Centre (ETC) facility in the grounds of THK. Furthermore, it was recognised that without the transfer of skills and expertise to local staff to help them to successfully operate the facility, the project would be at risk of not reaching its objectives. This assistance was delivered through the Capacity Building component of the Health for the South project. The Capacity Building component focused on triage and admission procedures and the treatment of critically injured or sick patients. The outcomes of the Capacity Building component included:

• Improved skills of medical and nursing staff in the care of critically injured and sick patients;

• Expansion of the role of the admitting officers to include active treatment;

• Development of paper based triage protocols; and

• Disaster and mass casualty planning.

Main Partner Orgnaisations(s)Teaching Hospital Karapitiya, Galle, Sri Lanka/AusAID/Victorian Government Department of Premier and Cabinet

Geographic Location(s)Galle, Sri Lanka

Chief Investigator(s)Professor Mark Fitzgerald ASM

Project Manager / Officer(s)Dr Gerard O’Reilly

Main ContactDr Gerard O’Reilly

Year Commenced2007

Expected Completion2008

Research Funding BodyAustralian Government - AusAID