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Thursday 15 July
Austin Health has donated more than 100 hospital beds to Sri Lanka to help during its COVID-19 crisis.
The beds were in storage after being replaced in the health service’s Bed Replacement Program.
“Last year 801 beds were replaced across the hospital and over the past 12 months we’ve been giving the old beds to charity,” Austin Health Director Support Services, Jason Walker, said.
Sri Lanka is in the grip of a third wave of the Delta variant of the virus and is reporting 1000 to 2000 cases and 30 to 40 deaths a day.
Many of the regional hospitals are at capacity and home quarantine, as well as makeshift quarantine centres run by the Sri Lankan Army, are helping to manage the lack of hospital spaces.
Sri Lankan charity, Surakimu Lanka Melbourne, approached Jason a couple of months ago for assistance.
Surakimu Lanka Melbourne Secretary, Pushpika Gamage, said the beds would be distributed to several hospitals where they were urgently required.
“We are coordinating with the Sri Lankan Army to get the beds to the places in need,” he said.
“The Sri Lanka Army is leading the supply of logistical requirements of the hospitals and other health institutions in Sri Lanka during the COVID-19 crisis.”
The first shipment of 59 beds was due to arrive in Sri Lanka this week, followed by the next shipment of 53 beds in August.
“This has been a great relief to the ongoing battle against COVID-19 in Sri Lanka where things have been consistently at alarming levels due to the Delta variant of the virus,” Pushpika said.
“On behalf of our organisation, I wish to commend the support provided by Austin Health to help the situation in Sri Lanka.”