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My time at HelpAge Sri Lanka

16 Nov 2010

Older people waiting outside the Mobile Medical Unit.I volunteered at HelpAge Sri Lanka last summer and was fortunate enough to witness the great work being carried out by the organisation.

Having volunteered at a number of charities in the past, my time at HelpAge really stood out, as I was able to experience first hand how they were making a difference to so many people's lives.

Mobile medical units

Following an initial introduction, I went to a mobile medical unit in a rural part of the country which offers free medical and eye examinations, as well as treatment.

The unit was equipped with facilities to carry out ECGs, blood pressure and blood sugar tests, as well as an in-house pharmacy providing free medication to patients screened by the doctor.

Here, I saw the tests being carried out and I became actively involved in helping to fit and distribute glasses.

An invaluable resource

Me helping older people with their glasses.Under normal circumstances, with limited money and public transport, it would be difficult for older people to travel the long distances to the city in order to get the service offered by the medical unit.

This makes the whole project an invaluable service to people with limited resources.

The gift of sight

For older people in the city with limited income there is an eye hospital built and funded by HelpAge in Colombo.

Here, I witnessed a cataract operation taking place. These operations are provided free by the organisation.

For me, one of the worst things that could happen would be to lose my sight. This experience enabled me to appreciate the effect that these operations were having on hundreds of people who cannot afford or access healthcare.

Find out more about HelpAge's work in Sri Lanka and on older people's health

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Author profile

Anouska Abeyawickrema
Country: United Kingdom
Job title: Volunteer

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.