By Waruni Paranagamage
Sri Lanka Insurance (SLIC) announced its new project ‘Call to Donate’ on Wednesday (28), urging the public to join the SLIC in helping children diagnosed with cancer at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Maharagama.
The project will introduce a mechanism to the public to contribute their support for donation via giving a miss call to 1357, when they see any insurance advertisement of SLIC. Using a simple missed call as the mechanism, the SLIC will donate Rs. 10 for each call to the Paediatric Oncology Unit of the NCI, Maharagama.
According to data released by the Ministry of Health, 3.4% of new cancer patients in Sri Lanka are under the age of 14 with almost equal numbers of female and male children and 95% of all children diagnosed with cancer are treated at NCI.
Through this process SLIC aims to make a substantial donation to the Paediatric Oncology Unit of The NCI.
Sri Lanka Insurance Managing Director T.M.R. Bangsa Jayah said that the SLIC was always happy to come forward to save the children in the country and the ‘Call to Donate’ campaign would help them to afford their further treatment.
“We are happy to help them to get financial assistance for expensive drugs that are available in the world. We paid the cost with our marketing section in SLIC. The public response will be huge and we are targeting to collect a minimum of Rs. 3.5 million for the fund. Child life is our responsibility,” he added.
The fund will provide assistance to the hospital with regards to three aspects; buying a C Pap Machine (CPAP), donation of prosthesis as well as essential medicine.
SLIC Chairman Hemaka Amarasuriya said, “The National Cancer Institute is the only place with accessible treatment option for almost all of these children. But for the hospital coping with the high volume of patients coming in here is indeed a mammoth task and we believe that this project will help the hospital serve them better and save so many more young lives.”
Addressing the launch NCI Paediatric Oncologist Dr. Damayanthi Peris asserted that even though most of the basic antibiotics, blood products and blood transmission hospitals and other facilities had been provided free of charge by the Government, some antibiotics were not affordable. “We have only three Paediatric Oncologists currently, and this unit needs all the support they can get in terms of equipment and drugs; we are thankful to SLIC for providing us with this funding.”
Officials participating in “Call to Donate”
The C Pap machine and some of the essential medicine are presently not available at the hospital but are of great need. CPAP helps patients breathe more easily during sleep, ensuring that the airway doesn’t collapse when breathing. Also parents of these children have to buy prosthesis and essential medicine. However not all of them have the financial capability to do so. Through this fund, SLIC will be providing financial assistance to such parents. “Children can be very sick when we are treating. They can acquire different kinds of infections. Sometimes we do not have enough antibiotics and the required medicines available to that particular child free of charge. That is why we need the support of the companies to come forward. We suggest for you all to make a pathway to provide that kind of drugs to us,” she added.
She said that 85% of the children can be completely cured and the percentage was not very far behind from the Western world. The public can contribute to the donation via a missed call from 1 November.
Pix by Daminda Harsha Perera