We rise by lifting others

June 3, 2021

The Apeksha Hospital, Maharagama being the premier institute for Cancer treatment in Sri Lanka attracts many patients from all over the country. It is the nodal institute for Cancer in Sri Lanka and has a specialized paediatric oncology unit, although there are established provincial cancer units, the influx of patients remains high at the hospital in Maharagama.

A disturbing aspect noticed is that despite several inputs by the Health Ministry, many families are still unaware or delay to report symptoms of cancer, until the disease has advanced to a stage when treatment becomes complicated. In this respect, the most vulnerable victims are children, for whom any delay in treatment could lead to fatal results due to the low immune systems in their still maturing bodies.

Suwa Arana – A Place for Healing, is Indira Cancer Trust’s latest and most ambitious project to date. The construction of the building is in progress and on schedule. When complete it will be the first paediatric palliative care centre in Sri Lanka as well as paediatric housing for sick children and their families.

The World Health Organisation definition of palliative care for children is the active total care of the child’s body, mind and spirit, and also involves giving support to the family. It begins when illness is diagnosed, and continues regardless of whether or not a child receives treatment directed at the disease.

Many families travel far from home and spend several weeks or months to get treatment for their sick children – a long time to be away or to divide a family. Children facing a serious medical crisis, nothing seems scarier than not having their parents close by for love and support. We aim to provide a place for families to call home so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at no cost.

This concept is built on the idea that nothing else should matter when a family is focused on the health of their child – not where they can afford to stay, where they will get their next meal or where they will lay their head at night to rest. We believe that when a child is hospitalized the love and support of family is as powerful as the strongest medicine prescribed.

At Suwa Arana, families can enjoy: – home-cooked meals – private bedrooms – playrooms for children – special rooms for children with suppressed immune systems – accredited education programs – recreational activities – non-clinical support services – sibling support services, laundry facilities, seating area with television and quiet room and a root top garden where art and music therapy, yoga, meditation sessions will take place or just relax at tree top level.