Colombo, July 21 : Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena attended a groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday to launch the construction of a China-Sri Lanka friendship hospital in the country's Polonnaruwa region.
The National Nephrology Specialist Hospital is being constructed following a request by Sirisena to the Chinese government, Xinhua news agency reported.
The 25,517-square-metre hospital, which will be the largest kidney hospital in South Asia, will include 200 inpatient beds and 100 hemodialysis beds. The construction of the hospital is expected to be completed in two years.
Speaking at the ceremony, Sirisena said the hospital would not only benefit the people of Polonnaruwa, but would benefit the entire island country.
With the assistance of China, this kidney hospital would have state-of-the-art facilities and would be one of the finest kidney hospitals in the region, he said.
Noting that China and Sri Lanka shared very strong ties, the President said China had also contributed to Sri Lanka's economic development.
Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the hospital would include all the latest facilities to treat patients suffering from kidney diseases and it was being constructed in Polonnaruwa as it was the district which had the highest number of patients with chronic kidney diseases.
"Foreign patients who are suffering from kidney diseases can also seek treatment in this hospital once it is completed in 2020. We are thankful to the Chinese government for fulfilling the President's request and constructing this hospital," Senaratne said.
Chinese Ambassador Cheng Xueyuan said Polonnaruwa, which was dubbed as "Asia's capital", is a Unesco World Heritage Centre. He said the construction of the special hospital in Polonnaruwa would add more value to the city and the hospital itself would treat thousands of people suffering from chronic kidney disease.
The hospital will also include an Out Patients Treatment Department and six modern surgical theatres needed for kidney transplants. There will also be a 200-seat auditorium with a car park.