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MAS Holdings donates Rs 45 mn to cancer hospital
Jul '10
For MAS Holdings, community investment is more of a way of being. Throughout the years as the company grew, so did the communities that they operated. The company focused its energy and resources to uplift education in the communities, improve and upgrade community health infrastructure and sports. 2009 saw MAS channel their resources towards a worthy national cause - a Forty Five Million Rupee (USD 400,000) upgrade of equipment at the National cancer Institute (NCI) at Maharagama.

More than 15,000 people from all corners of the country make their way to Maharagama each year relying on the NCI, the only public cancer institute in Sri Lanka dedicated to the diagnosis and follow-up treatment of cancer patients. Apart from facilitating patients with identification of cancers and specialized care, the NCI also functions as a training centre for undergraduates of the medical faculties Colombo, Kelaniya and Sri Jayawardanapura as well as for post graduate students of the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM), University of Colombo.

Equipment Scarcity:
One of the biggest challenges faced by the cancer hospital is the lack of proper equipment. Diagnostic facilities, surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are provided as services, but the increasing number of patients called for new and advanced medical equipment and facilities. This caused grievous concern among the medical staff of the NCI. Come 2009, things changed.

Forty Five Million Rupee Investment:
“For MAS, it has always been about doing the right thing, a concept embedded into the company's core values.” states Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean, Chairman – MAS Holdings. “We have a role to play in community development. We step in when we see a need that must be addressed. That is our community spirit.” It is in this context that MAS approached the cancer hospital to identify their most urgent needs in order to provide patients better health care and facilities. After discussions with Dr Sulochana Yoganathan, Director of the NCI and doctors of the hospital, the urgent upgrade requirements were identified.

In October 2009, an Echo Cardiographic Unit and accessories totaling to Rs. 5 million (USD 43,000) was donated by Ajay Amalean, Group Director – MAS Holdings, to kick start the first phase of the project. With around 30 patients walking in daily, requiring tests to be carried out prior to any diagnosis, this unit was one of the most urgent requirements by the NCI. A brand new Video Endoscopy System was installed at the hospital soon after. The system amounting to Rs. 10 million (USD 87,000) provided medical staff with the ability to carry out tests and provide automated reports as well as images, enabling doctors to offer their patients a clearer idea of the symptoms.

MAS turned their focus to the Surgical Unit next. The first and most important request put forward by the surgeons was for a new Video Laparoscopy Systemand accessories, amounting to Rs. 17 million (USD 150,000). The apparatus enables surgeons to perform ovarian treatments via video, allowing patients to go back home within 2 days of the surgery as opposed to 3 weeks, since the treatment does not cause patients to have incision wounds, as was the case prior to receiving the equipment. This has increased the cost effectiveness of the surgical unit drastically.

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