Dr Muhammed Ruvaiz Haniffa
Head Family Medicine Unit &
Consultant Family Physician
Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo
Honorary Consultant Family Physician to the Sri Lanka Navy
A product of D. S. Senanayake College Colombo, He graduated as a medical doctor with Honours from the North Colombo Medical College in 1994.
His clinical experience is diverse in exposure and geography – ranging from internship at Base Hospital Negombo in Surgery and Paediatrics to Base Hospital Amparai and the Military Hospital Colombo; when from 1996 to 1998 he cared for the tri-forces and civilians in the conflict zones of Jaffna, Elephant Pass, Karainagar and Kilinochchi. Thereafter he worked at the Cardio-thoracic Intensive Care Unit, Sri Jayawardenapura General Hospital for 6 years during which his interest in obtaining postgraduate training developed.
With wide exposure to hands-on health care, he synergized his interests by obtaining his Masters in Community Medicine and the Diploma in Family Medicine from the PGIM, University of Colombo. He also obtained the Postgraduate Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety from the Faculty of Medicine Colombo.
Having joined the Department of Community and Family Medicine, University of Kelaniya as a Lecturer in 2005, at the time when Family Medicine was established as a pioneering independent Unit, he subsequently joined the founding Unit of Family Medicine in the University of Colombo in 2009. This was when Family Medicine and its organization were yet in a fledgling state in Colombo. Dr Haniffa, amidst a multitude of responsibilities in curriculum development and training, effectively coordinated the donation of a three story building in close proximity to the Faculty of Medicine Colombo on a rent free basis for 5 years to establish the Family Practice Centre of the Faculty; where care is provided to the Community and also provides an excellent setting for undergraduate and post graduate teaching/learning in Family Medicine. He supervises research at the Universities of Colombo, Kelaniya and Sri Jayawardnepura where he also functions as an examiner in Family Medicine and Community Medicine.
His research interests are in topics related to family medicine and public health, with a particular reference to the care of the elderly and health seeking behavior of patients at primary care level. He has over 15 publications on related topics in local and international peer reviewed journals and over 30 scientific communications in numerous international and local conferences in health and social science. He contributes articles in the fields of Health and Social science to the local newspapers on a regular basis. He has authored chapters to two medical books on the care of the elderly in general practice.
Dr Haniffa obtained his MD – Family Medicine (being placed first by merit and awarded the Gold Medal) from Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo.
He was later awarded the Fellowship of College of General Practitioners of Sri Lanka, where he has served as a Council Member since 2010 to date and also held office as Assistant Secretary, Honorary Secretary and Treasurer. Meanwhile, on the academic front he remains the Secretary and Examiner MCGP Board (a SLMC recognized qualification to serve as a GP in Sri Lanka). In 2016 he served as Chief Examiner for the MCGP.
He also serves as a Mentor for postgraduate trainees of the College over the past 8 years.
In addition, he championed for issues of Patient Safety, particularly on how to choose a safe doctor; on Occupational Health and introduced the concept of Palliative Care.
He is a Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners UK – INT and also an examiner for the MRCGP (INT) examination.
Furthermore, Dr Haniffa is a member of a wide range of professional bodies, and has significantly contributed to every one of them, voluntarily, over the past decade or more.
His versatility is demonstrated by the following. He is:
- a) Life member of the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka, where he chaired the initiative on Waste Disposal and was also a founder member of the Public Health Forum of Sri Lanka.
- b) Founder member of the Palliative Care Association of Sri Lanka
- c) Life member of the Geriatric Association of Sri Lanka
- d) Forum member representing SLMA in the Organization of Professional Associations, where he later served as Vice President OPA in 2014
Since 2015 he serves as a member of the University Grants Commission and is chair of the Standing committee for Indigenous Medicine.
His Contributions to the SLMA since 2002 are remarkable:
He held executive positions first as Public Relations Officer, then as an Assistant Secretary, was Hon Secretary in two Councils (2009 and 2014), served as Treasurer for 4 consecutive years from 2010 to 2013, was Vice President in 2016 and President elect in 2017.
Dr Haniffa represented SLMA at the British Medical Association and CMAAO meeting in Manila, Philippines in 2008. He was instrumental in Computerizing the accounting system of SLMA, in strengthening the Membership Drive, convened the Media Committee under the guidance of Past President Dr. D N Atukorala and initiated SLMA’s trilingual Health Journalist Award in 2004 at the Foundation Sessions; and also implemented the Official SLMA Tie project. He lobbied for the Central Environmental Authority to draft legislation to regulate Healthcare waste disposal in Sri Lanka and also helped develop a training video on Communication Skills to support SLMA members on Counselling victims of the Tsunami of 2004. Dr Haniffa served as convenor Health Management Committee from 2008 to 2014 and coordinated proceedings of the National Health Policy Committee, helped coordinate the annual career guidance seminar for junior medical officers for many year and also contributed to developing guidelines for Health and Science journalism. He was instrumental in obtaining overseas funding to develop a Medical Record Book for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Chettikulam camp in Vavuniya and also initiated and coordinated the re-printing of the book ‘History of Medicine in Sri Lanka’ by C G Uragoda.
Dr Haniffa helped in formulating Reforms of the Election Process to the SLMA Council and worked alongside the legendary Prof Colvin Goonaratna as co-Editor of the very First Corporate Plan of SLMA.
He also coordinated as a responsible ex-co member in the construction of an extension building and of the Roof Renovations of Wijerama House and also served as Convenor Housing, Finance and Management Committee for many years.
Dr Haniffa from his school days has been a keen rugby player and rugby fan. He captained his School Rugby teams at both junior and senior levels and was a member of the North Colombo Medical College Rugby team throughout his undergraduate days. He lists photography and watching local theater productions as his other interests. He is very much a family man – with his loving wife Sabira always by his side, and showered with affection by his two children Shahir and Hafsa. He is blessed with amiability, kindness and of a warm and friendly personality wherever he goes. The Sri Lanka Medical Association is extremely fortunate to be led by such a multifaceted personality.