Dr Padma Sriyani Gunaratne

Dear Colleagues,

I feel honoured and privileged for the opportunity to send this message to the membership as the 127th President of the Sri Lanka Medial Association, the apex professional organization of the medical profession.  This is a moment where the need of the opinion of our Organization and the services of our profession to the day to day lives of all Sri Lankans is necessary more than ever before. We have lived through an year with the COVID-19 pandemic while trying to transform all our activities to suit the “new normal”. In fact, some activities have been more successful when compared to the pre-COVID era, but there is a lot left to be desired in other activities such as social activities and education.

Distant Medical Education is one such activity that did much better than ever before during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The SLMA was able to develop a fully-fledged auditorium from where we can now address and educate any of our members who are working in the remotest regions of the Island. I urge you to stay tuned, encourage your friends who are not already members to become members of the SLMA, follow and interact with us via our Facebook page, and let us know your expectations so that we can organize and fulfil our obligation to keep doctors up-to-date. Please plan to join our Annual Scientific Sessions scheduled to be held from 27th – 30th in July 2021 under the theme “Professional Excellence towards Holistic Health Care”. There will also be many social activities in which you can participate with your family.

Keeping with the theme of the year, “Professional excellence towards holistic health care”, I am interested in conducting activities promoting multidisciplinary team care which is mandatory for holistic care, in 2021. The formation of the Expert Committee on Rehabilitation of Disabilities in 2020 laid the foundation for this programme. While continuing with programmes focussing on a variety of needs of the membership, the expert committee will be organizing training programmes for nurses and allied health professionals to improve the knowledge and skills as a measure to facilitate teamwork among members of  multidisciplinary teams. Strengthening Geriatric Services is essential for a community with a rapidly rising elderly population. Given that stroke is the leading cause of adult disability, special attention will be paid to the rehabilitation of stroke patients and the elderly community during my tenure as the President, SLMA.

The COVID-19 infection is still raging in Sri Lanka with an ever-rising number of cases currently exceeding 40,000 and over 200 lives lost. While adhering to Ministry of Health guidelines on prevention, the way forward appears to be able to vaccinate all high-risk people groups as soon as possible. I am glad that the SLMA was able to take it up with the Secretary to HE the President and was able to convince the authorities of the need to expedite the process of purchasing vaccines.

You, the membership of the Sri Lanka Medical Association, is our most valuable asset. We  welcome all your ideas in formulating future activities for the Sri Lanka Medical Association.

Thank you

Dr. Padma Gunaratne
MBBS, MD(SL), FRCP(Edin, Glasg, Lond), FCCP, Hon FRACP, FAAN, FWSO
President, Sri Lanka Medical Association