Flooded slum housing, the absence of clean water, poor nutrition and the prevalence of abuse mean that the Rainbow Centre children’s health is highly vulnerable. The programme is run by a retired hospital matron and all the children’s health is checked every day. It is a highly demanding job with visits to hospitals and doctors carried out on a regular basis. There is significant discrimination against children from low caste and low income families. The Rainbow Centre acts as an advocate for the children and their families and ensures they get the help that they need. Mothers are given access to medical treatment, family planning counselling and health screening.
Children with special medical needs have been identified and referred to specialist care. In April 2009, Professor Harendra de Silva, one of Sri Lanka’s most eminent paediatricians headed up a new programme to treat those children at the Rainbow Centre considered to be at high risk of abuse. Professor de Silva was instrumental in the set up of the National Child Protection Authority. As its first director, he pioneered work to prevent and increase awareness of child abuse. He also acts as a consultant to the Rainbow Centre.