Visiting IDP Camps in Vavuniya

By Judy Jeyakumar

On June 3rd, I traveled to Vavuniya for a two-week visit to camps for internally displaced people. When I arrived at the Health Coordination and Disaster Management Office, I met Dr. Hearth, a consultant in disaster management, to talk about my visit. Among other things, we discussed how mental health services might be established in the area. For example, known patients already on medication and now in the camps who are not receiving follow-up treatment must be identified and followed. To my knowledge, there are nearly 1500 patients with major mental disorders seen at clinics in both Mulliative and Kilinochchi districts. We also discussed potential psychosocial interventions inside the camps, including play and sporting activities, playgrounds, encouraging spiritual healing traditions, therapeutic interventions for individuals and groups, relaxation techniques, family reunification programs, and provisions for traditional funerals and anniversaries. Also emphasized was the importance of early rehabilitation and resettlement—truly the best medications.

June 2009
Back to top