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Fund helps Sri Lankans afford MR scanner

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The Sri Lankan government has donated 42 million rupees, or nearly $1 million, to the department of neurosurgery at the National Hospital in Colombo so doctors can buy ancillary MR equipment for the public facility.The money, donated by President

The Sri Lankan government has donated 42 million rupees, or nearly $1 million, to the department of neurosurgery at the National Hospital in Colombo so doctors can buy ancillary MR equipment for the public facility.

The money, donated by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga from the President’s Fund, represents half the cost of the MR scanner the hospital uses. The hospital wants members of the public around the world to donate an additional Rs. 5.5 million, or $126,000.

The trust fund helps the hospital buy collateral equipment used with the MR scanner. Most Sri Lankans suffering from neurological disorders cannot afford the cost of scans in Colombo’s two private hospitals, said Dr. Colvin Samarasinghe of the National Hospital. Scans there cost between Rs. 7500 and 15,000 ($172 to $344). More than 20,000 people have donated money to the fund.

Doctors at the National Hospital prefer to use MR, rather than CT, because it doesn’t require ionizing radiation, Samarasinghe said.

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