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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Colombo Medical School gets life support from alumnus body

From the Sunday Times 2 of October 13th, 2013


Colombo Medical School gets life support from alumnus body

The Colombo Medical school, now known as the Medical faculty of the University of Colombo, is 143 years old and the second oldest in Asia. Sri Lanka has eight state medical schools with around 1,500 qualifying as doctors every year. In addition, every year, about 300 doctors with foreign degrees qualify to practise medicine in Sri Lanka. The PGIM (Postgraduate Institute of Medicine) of the University of Colombo established in 1980), trains medical graduates to specialise in all fields of medicine.

The Medical School in Colombo initially had a traditional training programme with two years of the basic sciences (anatomy, physiology and biochemistry) followed by paramedical sciences of pathology, bacteriology, pharmacology, forensic medicine and public health before clinical hospital-based training in clinical medicine, paediatrics, surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology. Now the medical school has an integrated modular format with facilities for self-learning.

The oldest building in the faculty is the Anatomy building built in 1815 on Francis Road next to the JMOs office. The other buildings (Physiology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology and Pathology) are in a cluster with entry through the main entrance on Kynsey Road.

 The other buildings on Kynsey Road include the original administrative block, the Soysa Maternity hospital donated by Sir Charles Henry de Soysa and the Institute of Neurology built entirely from public donations with the leadership provided by the senior consultant neurologist, Dr. J B Peiris. The Colombo medical faculty has no residential campus though it has a few male and female hostels. The alumni, who were initially awarded the diploma of LMS (Ceylon) and later MBBS Ceylon, obtain the qualification of MBBS (Colombo) on successfully completing five years of training.

The stately building that accommodates the Medical faculty of the Colombo University
The alumni are scattered all over the world. These two factors probably contributed to the late birth of an alumnus association only two years ago, when compared with the Peradeniya medical school alumnus association (PeMSAA) which has celebrated 50 years and the Ruhuna Medical School alumnus association which has surpassed 25 years.

In the two years the CoMSAA (Colombo Medical School Alumnus Association) has been able to achieve much with the help of its local and overseas alumni. The achievements of the CoMSAA includes:

- A Donation of books worth Rs 2 million to the library from 4 of its US based alumni
- Computers worth Rs 500,000 by a US alumnus
- A donation of Rs 500,000 by a non-medical professional, to the best achiever at the basic sciences examination — equivalent of the second MBBS. The donor preferred to make a donation which would help a future icon of the alumni rather than a needy student
- A donation of five computers and network printer by the class of 1958-63 who celebrated the golden jubilee this year
- A donation Rs. 396,000 from the class of 1968- 1973
- A donation of Rs. 135,000 from the class of 1963-1968 following the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of entry
- The founder president and his committee arranged for a donation of a piano, billiards table and TV for the common room, which is now a uni- sex common room.
- We have obtained and approved a reasonable quotation to repair the leaking roof of the Women’s hostel which is in a terrible state
While collecting funds is of paramount importance, proper and adequate utilisation of such funds is equally important. CoMSAA has earned a reputation of being the most important and trustworthy investment portal for alumni both locally and overseas.
We have stressed the need to support the alumni and future alumni in these ventures.
- Two grants of Rs. 50,000 to students to present their research at an international conference in the Netherlands
- Five grants of Rs. 25,000 each for students to compete in the International Quiz contest in Physiology in Malaysia
- A piano, TV and a multimedia projector for the Common room

While the executive committee of CoMSAA has been active it has had the support of the Dean, Prof. Rohan Jayasekara, who has been helpful with the channeling of the donations. CoMSAA has also had two successful international congresses and reunions which has stimulated further service oriented activity.