Village doctors and Tsumani relief efforts

This piece in The New York Times details one indigenous disaster relief effort in Sri Lanka. 

“While foreign aid groups are helping, officials of the World Health Organization said in interviews that much of the organizing and the real work is being done by Sri Lankans themselves. The country is not rich, but it has a well-organized public health system, and medical officers like Dr. Sameem – he is one of 214 – have been running the day-to-day business of looking after health in the camps. Many, like Dr. Sameem, are local doctors in villages and small towns who have been suddenly thrust into the forefront of coping with this disaster and warding off epidemics.

Dr. Sameem has guided foreign medical teams to the areas in his region that need help most, and talked an aid group into providing a car to get his staff to the camps. (They initially turned him down.) He has deployed nurses, midwives, doctors and health inspectors to the camps to check on sanitary conditions, spray pesticides, disinfect wells, look for signs of disease, treat the sick and report their findings to the Ministry of Health.”