The highest birth rate in Sri Lanka has been reported from Embilipitiya in the Sabaragamuwa province, a Health Ministry spokesman said.
He said the average birth rate of Embilipitiya was only 100 per month in the nineties but it has rapidly increased by 5 per cent after 2000. The improvement of healthcare facilities has attributed this situation. The number of births occurred during the last month in Embilipitiya was 500.
It is also reported that underage marriages is one reason behind this increase. The Ratnapura and Kegalle districts are popular for underage marriages, he said.
The Ministry provided a new Gynaecology Unit to the Embilipitiya Hospital costing Rs. 87 million. The Ministry in collaboration with the World Bank and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council funded this project. This unit consisting of 100 beds and modern health care facilities for pregnant mothers could handle ten deliveries at once.
The Ministry has also provided 66 doctors, 30 nurses and many more facilities. Furniture and other equipment worth Rs.11 million have also been provided by UNICEF and an Australian NGO, he said.
The Ministry has also provided a Rs. 70 million worth mental health and STD unit to the hospital. Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva laid foundation stone for the OPD and administration building complex which is estimated to cost Rs. 150 million.
Specialist doctors` quarters will also be built at a cost of Rs.15 million, he said.