THE OFFICIAL NEWS PAPER OF SRI LANKA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
June 2012 Volume 05 Issue 06
President’s Note The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA), the national medical association of doctors in Sri Lanka, is the oldest national medical association in Asia and Australasia with a history dating back to 1887. The SLMA began its existence as the ‘The Ceylon Branch of The British Medical Association’ on 17 December 1887. It became the Ceylon Medical Association when Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, gained independence. In 1972 when Sri Lanka became a republic, it was renamed as the ‘Sri Lanka Medical Association’. Many illustrious medical personalities who contributed immensely to uplift the medical profession and the health care services in the country have served the SLMA as Presidents and in various other capacities. The SLMA is celebrating its 125th Anniversary in 2012, with a series of country wide conferences with the objective of promoting professionalism, update doctors on latest practices, and to create awareness about various programmes implemented by the government of Sri Lanka in the health sector. They have galvanized the medical profession and as a result we expect the main 125th Anniversary International Medical Congress (from 2 to 6 July 2012), to be the largest international medical conference in Sri Lanka. I look forward to welcome all of you at the Conference.
Prof. Vajira H.W. Dissanayake President, Sri Lanka Medical Assosiation, No.06, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka Publisher & Printer
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Notice Board 5 Past Presidents of SLMA 6 Dr. Suriyakanthi Amarasekara Prof. A. H. Sheriffdeen Prof. Ravindra Fernando Dr. Sunil Senevirathne 7 Dr. A. D. P. A. Wijegoonewardene Malaria: The hundred - year story behind the bite 8 SLML Completes 168 years Law Medical Encounter 2012 - Cricket with a difference
Sri Lanka Medical Association Central Regional Conference
CMAAO/ SLMA Joint Scholarship
SLMA expert Committee on Disabilities
Notice Board Sri Lanka Medical Association 125th Anniversary International Medical Congress 4 Orations, 176 Lectures, 75 Free Papers, 169 Posters The Largest Medical Congress in Sri Lanka
1 July 2012 SLMA Walk and Run – Starting at the BMICH Front Lawn
2 to 6 July 2012 BMICH, Colombo SLMA Oration – 2 July 2012 S. C. Paul Oration – 4 July 2012 S. Ramachandran Oration – 5 July 2012 NDW Lionel Oration – 5 July 2012 Doctor’s Concert – 3 July 2012, 7.00 pm onwards at the BMICH – Entrance Free SLMA Banquet – 6 July 2012, 8.00 pm onwards at Waters Edge – Tickets Rs. 5000/http://www.slma2012.com Keep the Dates Free and Come Join us Conference Registration is now open at the SLMA Office Early bird registration close on 20 June 2012
Before June 20, 2012
After June 20, 2012
Non Members Rs. 5,000/-
Students Rs. 2,000/-
Past Presidents of SLMA In the May 2012 issue of SLMAnews we started a series on the Past Presidents of the SLMA to appreciate the contribution they made to develop the SLMA, the National Medical Association of Sri Lanka, to its current standing. We continue the series with five more Presidents.
Dr. Suriyakanthi Amarasekara MBBS, DA (England), FRCA
Consultant Anaesthesiologist Consultant Anaesthesiologist, Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital 1988 - 2010 President, College of Anaesthesiologists Sri Lanka 1996-1997
he focus of her Presidential Address titled “Stress: The Ogre in the ICU” was the need to balance Hi-Touch (Compassion and Caring) with Hi-Tech in the ICU setting. Resumption of membership in the Confederations of
Prof. A. H. Sheriffdeen FRCS. (Eng), FRCS. (Edin), DSc Hon (Colombo)
is year of Presidency was preceded by the tsunami that hit the island on 26th Dec 2004. He was already a task force member of the “Centre for National Organization” of relief, mainly coordinating medical relief. The SLMA launched a project to assess the dam-
Emeritus Professor of Surgery, University of Colombo Former President, College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka
age suffered by Medical and para medical personnel in the affected areas. In response to an international appeal funds were received from New Jersey, USA, the Western Australia Medical Association, the Malaysian Medical Association and the Commonwealth Medical Association.
Relief was given to Doctors, nurses, minor staff and orphans. He also recommenced joint scientific sessions with the Batticaloa Medical Society. The Medical lounge was refurbished to give a better ambience to its users. Prof. Vajira H. W. Disanayake served as the Honorary Secretary in 2005.
Medical Associations of Asia and Oceana (CIMAAO) in 2006 resulted in a donation of US$ 50,000 for Tsunami relief. This money was invested, and the interest was used to set up a scholarship for children who have lost one or
both parents in the 2004 tsunami disaster. During the year 2006 the SLMA office was refurbished to give its present modern appearance. Dr. Anuja Abayadeera served as the Honorary Secretary in 2006.
Prof. Ravindra Fernando MBBS, MD, FCCP, FCCGP, DMJ (Lond), FRCP (Lond), FRCP (Glasgow), FRCP (Edinburgh), FRCPath (UK)
Senior Professor of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo President, Ceylon College of Physicians -1998 President, College of Forensic Pathologists of Sri Lanka - 2006 President, Asia Pacific Association of Medical Toxicology - 1991-1994 Chairman, National Dangerous Drugs Control Board - 2001 - 2004 Director, Centre for the Study of Human Rights, University of Colombo 1997 - 2009
he theme of his Presidency was “Setting Standards in Clinical Medicine”. The High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka Nirupam Sen was the Chief Guest of the Annual Sessions. The Guest of Honour was Chairman, British Medical Association James Johnson. There were 34 four overseas guest speakers at the sessions. During the year an exclusive fully equipped ultra-
modern E-Resource Centre was established in the “Wijerama House” by the Hemas Health Care Sector to provide medical profession with advanced knowledge through the use of state of the art technology. A new committee on ‘Over Nutrition and Under Nutrition” was established to improve public awareness on nutritional disorders. Professor Chandrika Wijeyaratne served as the Honorary Secretary in 2004.
Dr. Sunil Senevirathne Epa MD Consultant Physician
ision 2003 was the theme for the year during his presidency. Under Vision 2003 two main programmes were introduced. They were the National CPD
programme for doctors in Sri Lanka and the introduction of the spiritual dimension to health. Introduction of the National CPD programme is a historical event in the medical profession in Sri Lanka and after years of perseverance by Dr. Epa it is now ready to be implemented island wide with then help from the Ministry of Health. This is bound to change the attitudes of our doctors toward the need to maintain highest professional standards by all engaged actively in the profession. He introduction of the spiritual dimension to health was a new turning point in our allopathic health care system which is based on a bio- medical model which does not recognize the mind body interaction
in causing illness and its healing process. However mind body interaction is now scientifically accepted based on PNIE system (Psycho neuro immune endocrine system) as being capable of influencing physical health. There was an over whelming response from the profession when he proposed a spiritual dimension to our health model at his presidential address. This lead to the recognition of spiritual dimension in health by the medical profession of Sri Lanka. As a result a new lecture on spiritual health was introduced into the behavioural stream of the under graduate curriculum at Faculty of Medicine of University of Colombo.
Dr A D P A Wijegoonewardene MBBS, DFM, FCGP (SL), FRCGP (UK) (Hony)
n 2002 Dr. Preethi Wijegoonewardene created history as the third second generation President of the SLMA. His father Dr A D P A Wijegoonewardene was President of the SLMA in 1962. Dr. Wijegoonewardene was inducted at the SLFI amidst a large and distinguished gathering. His Presidential Address was highly commenced by all - beginning with the History of Medicine in Sri Lanka to the present day health care system
Family Physician/General Practitioner Managing Director (Medical), Durdans Hospital, Colombo Regional President, WONCA, MESAR President, College of General Practitioners of Sri Lanka 2004-2007
in the country, he went on to talk on malnutrition, mental health, inequities in health provision, hightech medicine in the new millennium, and morbidity and mortality statistics. He spotlighted the need of a quality, cost effective primary health care system, with the family physician playing a private role. The anniversary academic sessions was on the theme “Towards committed caregivers – meeting the need” was a tremendous success with the Chief Guest President
of the World Organization of Family Doctors/WONCA Dr Michal Boland, who highlighted the complementary roles of generalists and specialists, community and hospital based services and medical and allied health professionals. The entire year was packed with multi-faceted activity ranging from symposia, workshops, guest lectures, monthly CME programmes and clinical sessions in outstations and also a successful Foundation Sessions. The millennium lecture
series on Non – medical topics (six in all) was highly valued by the members. The year was packed with social activities which culminated in a highly successful medical dance which was attended by over 270 guests. Dr. Wijegoonewardena also focused on developing infrastructure at the SLMA - the SLMA garden and roadway was paved and the Wijerama House was given a face lift.
hy did the mighty ancient Raja Rata kingdoms fall? Was it due to foreign invasions or did the kings up and leave their cities, along with the people because a tiny insect was wreaking havoc, spreading disease and death? Did malaria cause the abandonment of the Raja Rata? The answers, of course, lie buried in the sands of time, but two doctors in more recent times have taken up the task of not only documenting the scourge of malaria but also detailing the “organized” control efforts in Sri Lanka. As Sri Lanka stands on the threshold of eliminating malaria in three years, 2015, and celebrated ‘World Malaria Day’ on April
The hundred-year story behind the bite
25, the efforts of these doctors- turned-authors have yielded a slim but comprehensive book titled ‘100 years of Malaria control efforts in Sri Lanka – 19112011’. The duo are Dr. Punsiri Fernando and Dr. Supriya Warusavithana who have been heavily involved in malaria control work and know through experience how many people worked long and hard to get Sri Lanka to this status. That’s why they have dedicated their labours to “all those who have contributed to malaria control in Sri Lanka from the grassroot level of the implementation of the control programme to the policy-making level”. Both come with the right credentials to document
malaria control activity. Dr. Fernando has been in the malaria arena for 30 years reaching the peak of his career as the Director of the Anti-Malaria Campaign (AMC) from 1992 to 2003. Dr. Warusavithana who has seen wards full of shivering malarial patients, had been moved especially by the plight of expectant mothers while working as a Medical Officer of Health at Anuradhapura and ending her government service as a Consultant Community Physician at the AMC. Even though she now works for the World Health Organization (WHO), her passion for malaria control has not waned and she handles technical
assistance for Communicable Disease Control Programmes including vector-borne diseases. The book brings to the fore what most people have forgotten about malaria and its control and some of the major players in this field. How many would remember that “celebrated personalities” such as Sir
Ronald Ross (1857-1932) who first discovered that the carrier of malaria was a mosquito and George MacDonald (1903-1967) who analyzed the 1934-35 epidemic that swept the country and created the famous MacDonald’s Formula were both engaged in malarial control work here. Sir Allen Perry who published a report on malaria fever in the low country as a sessional paper had also carried out the first spleen survey in the country in 1908. The two doctors take us back down the misty corridors of time…..to indicate the differing views of when malaria began. A map published by the Dutch in 1638 is proof that the Southern Province had been depopulated and deserted by “fever sickness” and the North Central Province was marked as an area “depop-
ulated by sickness”. This leaves the reader wondering whether history was repeating itself with regard to the fate that befell the Raja Rata during the ancient kings, also in Dutch times. Major milestones in the battle against the parasites Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium falciparum passed onto Sri Lankans by the female Anopheles mosquito are dealt with comprehensively in the book. They include the inauguration of the first AMC centre in 1911 at Kurunegala; the establishment of Anopheles culicifacies as the vector of malaria; the appointment of a malariologist before the launching of colonization schemes in the North Central Province; DDT (Dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane) era; the first malaria eradication attempt way back in
1958-63; and the launch of malaria mobile clinics in more recent times. However, a short explanation on ‘What is malaria’ would have enhanced the book to non-medical readers. The hurdles and negatives have also been put in black and white without being glossed over, as these are as important as the positives. They include the two malaria epidemics which left a trail of death and disease. The book creates a terrible image of the great malaria epidemic of 193435 with its beginnings at Alawwa on the left bank of the Maha Oya with official figures indicating 80,000 dead within seven months but general literature quoting as many as 125,000 dead and 2.5-3.5 million episodes of malaria. It also
deals with how by the early ’60s it became a “forgotten disease” and medical students studied about malaria without seeing a single patient. The country was holding onto a foolish sense of complacency, with a resurgence of the disease, this time with Anopheles vivax biting with a vengeance in new development projects and chena (slash-and-burn) cultivations. The second epidemic swept the country in 196768, virulent as ever though the deaths were not as bad as in the great epidemic. A name which comes into focus is the then Paediatrician at Anuradhapura, Dr. Kamalika Abeyaratne, who is no more, showing a Professor from England more than 100 cases. “Entire villages had been
Contd. on page 10
June, 2012 Contd. from page 09
Malaria... abandoned with the victims shivering in their huts,” documents the book, recreating the tragedy of malaria. The writers have also not let the country forget the dangers as recently as 1984 when in Sri Lanka chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum strains were detected and the strategy adopted to combat them. Setting the ground situation, “both operational
and technical factors” that contributed to the malaria epidemic of 1986/87, the doctor-authors point out the control measures implemented including the input of the USAID Project and the promotion of insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. They dub as a “very important milestone” the decentralization of malaria control activities between 19892000 in the strictly “vertical” AMC. While pointing out that many beneficial effects ensued, one disadvantage
had been the budgetary problems in the early stages. The contributions of agencies such as the WHO (including the roll-back initiative) and the IDA/World Bank (which included the malaria mobile clinics in the form of four-wheel driven double cabs) are dealt with at length along with the conflict situation’s impact on malaria and also the GFATM Round 1 Project 2003-8, Round 4 2005-9 and the ongoing Round 8 from 2009-14.
The factors which have enabled Sri Lanka to be on the threshold of vanquishing this old foe, according to the two doctors, include a strong political commitment, strategic technical contribution, enhanced parasitological surveillance through mobile clinics, timely introduction of new tools for malaria control, multi-sectoral support and a well-committed staff at all levels. This article was originally published in The Sunday Times on May 20, 2012
Where will you be on 6 July 2012? Where else but at the 125th Anniversary SLMA Banquet at Water’s Edge
Chief Guest – Prof. Rohan W Jaysekara, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo 5 courses sit down dinner Chamber Music Table Plan and Tickets Now Available at the SLMA Office, 6, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 7 for Doctors and their Guests 10
SLML Completes 168 Years
mongst the proud, ‘100-plus’ institutions that have enriched and enhanced our nation’s health, the Sri Lanka Medical Library (SLML) stands oldest. It has its origins in the Colonial Medical Library in 1844, well before the Ceylon Medical College (1870, now the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo) and the Ceylon Branch of the British Medical Association (1887, now the Sri Lanka Medical Association). But for all its antiquity, and unlike the other 100-plus institutions, it has no lack of modernity. Indeed, it would be an understatement to say that the three continue to be the nation’s veritable vehicle to modernity in health care. It was a group of dedicated doctors, qualified in United Kingdom and serving in the General Hospital Colombo (GHC), who first mooted the idea for a library dedicated to the task of helping doctors to enhance, enrich and update their knowledge – perhaps the first step towards
SLMANEWS continued professional development for doctors in modern Lanka. One might even argue that it was the first tentative step towards modern medical education itself, and a forbearer of the Ceylon Medical College, which later became the mother of all medical faculties in our nation. The journey to the Wijerama House, which the Ceylon Medical Library undertook with the Ceylon Medical Association in 1964, must have been a bitter-sweet moment. For, although it is hard to leave one’s home of birth behind, one does it to reach greater heights. The journey also brings home the sweetness of poetic justice in its wake: the SLMA began its existence as a guest of the SLML in the latter’s premises at Maradana Road in 1887, both were temporarily shifted to the GHC in 1960, but since 1964 the SLML has enjoyed the hospitality of the SLMA in the latter’s premises. Today, the SLML remains the nation’s only library that serves all the doctors without limitations or discrimination – be it graduate or postgraduate, specialist or non-specialist, in Colombo or in the outstations, state sector or private sector. It is the only medical library that shows special consideration to doctors serving the peripheries, by lending books to them for a considerably longer period of time than for doctors working in Colombo. In fact, it even serves some of the other medical libraries: when these can-
It was a group of dedicated doctors, qualified in United Kingdom and serving in the General Hospital Colombo (GHC), who first mooted the idea for a library dedicated to the task of helping doctors to enhance, enrich and update their knowledge not obtain the latest issues of journals on time because of payment delays, it is the SLML that comes to their rescue. It even opens its doors to non-medical researchers, who would like to come in as associate members to savour its rich heritage of historical material, including priceless manuscripts from colonial times, some of which has been painstakingly preserved with the help of philanthropists. The SLML is not, however, merely a queer archivement. It has full online
internet facilities, including online journal subscriptions, and helps outstation doctors find access to journal articles by an innovative combination of technology: telephone, internet, fax and (sometimes) postal mail. It purchases a sizeable collection of the latest editions of textbooks, atlases, manuals and exam preparatory books in almost all specialties and subspecialties annually. It regularly receives donations of textbooks and journals from Sri Lankan doctors living abroad.
One indication of how quickly it becomes updated is the fact that its biggest problem is space: it has to create space for the new by constantly getting rid of the old. But good institutions, like good ideas, need good people to make them work. The SLML – and all its beneficiaries, which indirectly also include the patients of our country since 1844 – has been fortunate in having had dedicated doctors and library staff who have worked the idea well. The Library hasn’t just existed: it as grown and evolved, becoming very much a part of the times, at all times, through changing times, for a long, long time. As the SLMA – once the Library’s newly-born guest, now its generous host – celebrates its 125th birthday, the Library takes great pride in congratulating a fellow traveller, wishing it well, and looking forward to joining hands for a journey longer, richer still.
Law Medical Encounter 2012 - Cricket with a difference
The Doctors Cricket Team with Nishantha Ranathunga, Secretary, Sri Lanka Cricket, Presidents and Secretaries of Sri Lanka Medical Association and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, and Dr. Indika Karunathilake – Manger Doctors Teams.
The lawyers have disported an awe-inspiring performance winning this prestigious trophy on previous presentations while a promising bunch of young doctors have exhibited true sportsmanship by their talented skills of the game. 14
By Dr Sulakshi Thelikorala
ricket – a sport, a discipline, a culture and an art that is popularly celebrated by the entire country irrespective of difference in social, economic or professional background. Seasons change. Celebration of victories and admiration of defeats in a spirit of sportsmanship display the cricketing subculture in the traditions of cricket. The joint effort of two elite professions to celebrate the annual Law Medical Cricket Encounter 2012 is highly commended. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka in collaboration with SriLanka Medical Association has been organizing this exciting event since 2008. The lawyers have disported an awe-inspiring performance winning this prestigious trophy on previ-
The Captain of the winning Lawyers’ team receiving Prof. Rezvi Sheriff Challenge trophy
ous presentations while a promising bunch of young doctors have exhibited true sportsmanship by their talented skills of the game. Even though the history of this event seems quite recent, the fellowship between Lawyers and Doctors dates far back in time. The law students and medical students have shared fraternal bonhomie from
the good old days since Law College and Colombo Medical College jointly host the Law Medical Students’ Encounter and the Annual Dinner Dance over a period of 75 years, a most looked forward to event in the sports calendar of the students and members of the legal and medical professions. Contd. on page 16
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Law Medical... The stability of mutual understanding ensured the two parties featuring a cricketing encounter at a higher professional level as the Lawyers Cricket Club and Bar Association of Sri Lanka coordinately organized the inaugural Law Medical Cricket Encounter in 2008 at P.Sara Stadium. The celebrations continue and traditions last. This year, the Law Medical Cricket Encounter 2012 for Prof Rizvi Sheriff Trophy is being organized by the Sri Lanka Medical Association assisted by the Doctors’ Cricket Club of Sri Lanka under exemplary guidance of Dr. Indika Karunathilake. A significant occurrence of the Law Medical
Encounter is a six-a-side game between a team of women which is expected to bring amusement and entertainment all around when the lady doctors and lawyers engage in a friendly game of cricket. The battle for this prestigious trophy was held on Sunday the 13th of May, 2012 at the Colts Cricket Grounds. The guest of honour at the event was Secretary, Sri Lanka Cricket Nishantha Ranathunga. The two chief guests were President of the Sri Lanka Medical Association Prof. Vajira H. W. Dissanayake and M.P. President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka Wijeyadasa Rajapakse. The doctors batting first scored 193 all out in 39.3 overs. The lawyers posted the score in 35 overs with 5
wickets to spare. The six a side ladies match too was won by the lawyers who scored 43 for no loss in reply to the doctor’s score of 42 for 2.
Doctors’ Cricket team (Mens)
Dr. Rajeev Nirmalasingham (Captain) (Post graduate trainee in Surgery) Dr. Gavithra Dayananda (Post Intern Medical Officer, CSTH) Dr. Diluk Karunarathne (Pre-intern doctor) Dr. Chameera Akurugoda (Medical Officer, Base Hospital, Ampara) Dr. Lahiru Senanayaka (Additional Medical Officer of Health, Deraniyagala) Dr. Prageeth Suranga (Post graduate Trainee in Veneriology) Dr. Yasiru Godakanda (Wicket Keeper) (Pre-Intern doctor) Dr. Nishantha karunarathne (Medical Officer, Medical Research Institute, Colombo) Dr. Chamikara Palkumbura (Intern Medical Officer, Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital) Dr. Amila Kodikara (Medical Officer, Base Hospital, Gampola) Dr. Helanka Wijethilake (Medical Officer of Health, Yatiyanthota) Dr. Dilan Senevirathna Epa (Intern Medical Officer, Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital)
Doctors’ Cricket team (Ladies)
The Captain of the Loosing Doctors Team, Dr. Rajeev Niramalasingham, receiving his trophy
Dr. Sulakshi Thelikorala (Captain and Wicket Keeper) (Medical Officer, Colombo South Teaching Hospital) Dr. Romanie Fernando (Senior Lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, Rajarata) Dr. Chiranthi Konglala Liyanage (Research Assistant, Faculty of Medicine,
The lady doctors’ cricket team with Prof. Vajira H. W. Dissanyake, President, SLMA and Dr. Indika Karunathilake
Colombo) Dr. Subhashini Chandrapalan (Medical officer, Colombo South Teaching Hospital) Dr. Imalka Udugamsuriya (Research Assistant, Faculty of Medicine, Colombo) Dr. Tharindya Bandara (Research Assistant, Faculty of Medicine, Colombo) Dr. Dilini Udayangani (Research Assitant, Faculty of Medicine, Colombo)
The law students and medical students have shared fraternal bonhomie from the good old days since Law College and Colombo Medical College jointly host the Law Medical Students’ Encounter and the Annual Dinner Dance over a period of 75 years
Sri Lanka Medical Association Central Regional Conference 18 and 19 May 2012 - Hotel Tourmaline, Kandy In Collaboration with the Kandy Society of Medicine
he SLMA Central Regional Conference was a grand success with over 150 participants attending the inauguration, an overflowing workshop on research ethics, and a packed workshop on eHealth. The Chief Guest at the Inauguration was Prof. Nimal Senanayke. Past President SLMA â€“ 1999 who took the audience through a fascinating journey of pioneering
research carried out by him on epilepsy in Sri Lanka. The symposium on Health Challenges in the Central Province addressed by President, Kandy Society of Medicine (KSM) Dr. Indra Lekamge, Immediate Past President, Hill Country Clinical Society (Nuwara Eliya) Dr R. K. L. S. Rajapaksha and President, Matale Clinical Society Dr. A. B. Kiridena gave the participants
Inauguration of the Conference: Invitees at the Head Table. Joint Secretary KSM, Dr. Thilini Rajapaksha (From left) Secretary, SLMA Dr. Lasantha Malawige, President, SLMA Prof. Vajira H. W. Dissanayake, Chief Guest Prof. Nimal Senanayke, President, KSM Dr. Indra Lekamge, Joint Secretary, KSM Dr. Charles Antonypillai.
an insight into the health and professional challenges faced by the doctors in the three districts.
The concluding session was graced by the Deputy Minister of Health, Lalith Dissanayake and the
Minister of Health of the Central Province Honorable Sunil Amaratunge.
The Assistant Secretary of the SLMA Dr. V. Murali presenting the report of the Workshop on Health Challenges in the Central Province at the concluding session. The Deputy Minister of Health, Lalith Dissanayake and Minister of Health of the Central Province, Sunil Amaratunge are also present.
CMAAO/SLMA Joint Scholarship
Bringing relief to children who lost their parents during the Tsunami in 2004 By Suriyakanthie Amarasekera, Co-ordinator CMAAO/SLMA Joint Scholarship
hen the destructive Tsunami hit the South East Coast of Sri Lanka on 26th of December 2004, the most tragic and devastating impact was on children who lost one or both parents in the disaster. The Sri Lanka Medical Association therefore had no hesitation in deciding how the magnanimous donation of US$ 50,000/-given by the Confederation of Medical Associations of Asia and Oceana (CMAAO) in 2006 for Tsunami relief work of the SLMA should be utilized. With the approval of the CMAAO Council, the CMAAO / SLMA Joint Scholarship was set up for children who had lost one or both parents in the Tsunami Disaster. As President of the SLMA in 2006, I had the privilege of setting up the Scholarship. The original donation of US$ 50,000/- was invested to yield a monthly interest of SLR 51,000/while keeping the capital intact. The next step was to select the Scholarship recipients, which was done very carefully checking the authenticity and eligibility of each applicant. We avoided using the media to call applications, and requested Professional, Colleges and our own Council members to make recommendations. We also ensured that those selected were not all from one area. The final 23 children selected were from a wide spread area including Galle, Hambantota, Kandy, Eheliyagoda, Ambalantota, Moratuwa and Suriyawewa Seven of these, had lost both parents and 16 had lost one parent.
They all received a monthly sum of Rs2000/-credited to their savings accounts. The students were requested to provide evidence that they are continuing their schooling and submit a progress report duly certified by the Principal of the school at the beginning of each year. By the year 2009 Mahil Azeez (who had lost both parents and was one of twins) completed his O/Levels and left school. He followed an eight months course in Motor Mechanics during which he started receiving the scholarship as a decision was made to continue supporting any educational or Vocational Training Programme. As a result of obtaining an employment on completion of the course, he ceased to be eligible for the scholarship in 2010. Two more students were selected by April 2010 bringing the total of scholarship recipients to 24. Starting from the year 2010, an additional sum Of Rs1000/- was given to each child in December in order to help them in buying stationery, shoes and uniforms. Four scholarship recipients failed to communicate with the SLMA in spite of repeated letters in 2011. It was assumed that they have ceased their educational activities and are no longer eligible to receive the scholarship. Their payments were stopped from April 2012. This brings the total number of awardees at present to 20. Two of them had informed that having completed their A levels, they are following a three year course in Graphic Designing. Accordingly, they continue to be eligible for the scholarship. Two more are reading for their A levels. Among these students,
Ramila Azeez is a bright student having the ambition of becoming a professional in the field of medicine. It was decided to increase the award for these four by Rs1000/- so that they receive Rs3000/- monthly from April 2012. There are six students in the O level and pre O level classes and their allowance too was increased by Rs 500/- with effect from April 2012 giving a total of Rs2500/- per month. The remaining ten students continue to receive Rs2000/- monthly. All these increments were made by using the monthly interest only, leaving the capital intact.
The CMAAO/SLMA Scholarship has shed a ray of hope in the lives of these children who have already faced a huge tragedy in their young lives and experienced financial hardships. Their continuing education is a living monument to the generosity, caring, and goodwill of the CMAAO and is one of the most rewarding on-going projects of the SLMA.
SLMA Expert Committee on Disabilities Working tirelessly to improve Lives of Differently Abled People
he number of differently abled people in Sri Lanka is fast growing. Rapid increase of non-communicable diseases such as stroke, a steady rise in the number of road accidents, and the fast growing population are some of the common causes to this increasing burden. With the war coming to an end in Sri Lanka, we are now more focused on the future development of the country. One cannot develop a nation or a country without focusing on the quality of life of differently abled people. To improve the quality of life and to plan out successful medical rehabilitation for differently abled people we need technical support. The SLMA established the Expert Committee on Disabilities in 2007 during the Presidency of Prof. Lalitha Mendis on one of her own proposals. The committee under the leadership of Consultant Rheumatologist Dr. Lalith
Dr. Tom Shakespeare delivering the lecture
Wijeyarathne, ably supported by Consultant Paediatrician Dr. Samanmali Sumanasena carried out many activities to improve the lives of differently abled people. The Committee organized a guest lecture by World Health Organization, Department of Disability and Rehabilitation, Technical Officer, Dr. Tom Shakespeare, in collaboration with the World Health Organization on 29 May 2010 to mark the launch of the World Disability Report. He spoke to a packed hall of participants of all sectors of the health sector at the Auditorium of the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children on “Towards better health care for differ-
ently abled people: A rights based approach”. The speech was followed by a lively discussion. Dr. Tom Shakespeare, holder of a BA, MPhil and PhD in social sciences from the University of Cambridge, is from the United Kingdom. His mother is with a Sri Lankan origin. His PhD research explored conceptualizations of disability. His subsequent research projects at the University of Sunderland, University of Leeds and University of Newcastle explored the sexual rights of disabled people, childhood disability, and quality of life in restricted growth respectively. He has published extensively in disability stud-
ies such as, The Sexual Politics of Disability (1996) and Disability Rights and Wrongs (2006) and bioethics, for example, Arguing about Disability (2008). Being a disabled, Dr. Shakespeare has been an active member of the community of disables for twenty years. Dr Shakespeare joined the Disability and Rehabilitation Team (DAR) in WHO’s Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability in March 2008. He was an author and editor of the World report on disability and is a part of the team working on the global dissemination and implementation of the report. He also supports WHO efforts to develop and implement policies which remove barriers to the participation of differently abled people and to ensure the mainstreaming of disability in technical programmes. He is also a member of the WHO Ethics Review Committee.
Assuring our continous support for the medical profession