A new space to welcome new lives

“We truly believe that healthy mothers and healthy children are the backbone for a prosperous Sri Lanka.”

For years, the District General Hospital located in the center of Matara, Sri Lanka has been serving expectant families and their new babies who live in towns and villages around the hospital, up to hundreds of kilometers away. But not without its challenges.

The capacity of the maternal and neonatal ward in the hospital increasingly fell short of what was needed to serve the growing needs of the community.

Global goal we are supporting through this initiative:

In order to address needs and increase access to vital maternal and neonatal care, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) worked with UNOPS to rehabilitate a hospital that they had been constructing in Matara. KOICA expanded the project and commissioned a new ward for the hospital. The new facility then became exclusively a maternal and neonatal hospital. 

We must strive to ensure that all women can receive the best care for themselves and their newborns.

Myungjin Kim - Country Director, KOICA

With a 357-bed capacity, four operation theaters, new medical vehicles, equipment and furniture, the Korea Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital almost doubled the provision of obstetrics, gynecological and neonatal services in the area. Deliveries of newborns have already increased from approximately 200 a month in the previous hospital to 400 a month in the new facilities.

In the previous hospital, we had to put two beds together to be given to three patients. Even the babies were kept on the same bed. But now the bed capacity has increased and mothers have enough space.

Nishani Wijesinghe - Head Nurse, Korea Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital

The new hospital also has new psychiatric and lactation management units where medical professionals can offer support services to families that need them.

A woman was admitted to our hospital as an emergency case. She came from Tissamaharama, which is approximately 112 kilometers away, and had given birth in Hambantota. Unfortunately, her baby passed away soon after the birth. It was understandably a difficult time for her. However, she received counseling from our hospital's psychiatric clinic during her 15-day stay here. She later told us and the nurses that she is coping better now and has found some solace from the counseling services she received.

Nishani Wijesinghe - Head Nurse, Korea Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital

Expectant mothers were moved from the main District Hospital into the new facilities in February 2023. The hospital is already finding that more families are choosing its services, improving the community’s access to vital healthcare.

We truly believe that healthy mothers and healthy children are the backbone for a prosperous Sri Lanka. We know how difficult it is during this challenging time for women during pregnancy and right at that point, they need the best care possible.

Charles Callanan - Director, UNOPS South Asia Multi-Country Office

About the project 

With over $8 million in funding from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), UNOPS helped remodel an existing hospital building to improve its functionality. UNOPS also constructed a new ward complex. Additional activities included the procurement of two buses, construction of new kitchen unit, procurement of supply of medical equipment and furniture and refurbishment of the pediatric building. Work was completed and the facility was handed over to the Ministry of Health in 2023.