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Saturday, January 23, 2016

News from Sanath Lama

Sanath has sent me this important message. As you can see, he is raising funds for a worthy cause.

Dear friends,

I am involved in three important health related charitable ventures.


You may remember reading in the newspapers about bone marrow transplants (BMT) for thalassaemia. So far, 9 BMTs have been carried out successfully at Central and Nawaloka Hospitals. Very soon it would be done at LRH also. However, that is not the answer. We should try and prevent the birth of such babies. To do so, we have to identify the carriers of thalassaemia by community screening and counsel them not to marry a fellow carrier. The Ministry of Health spends about 5% of its health budget for the care of these patients. During the last 15 years, Sir David Weatherall (Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford ) and Professor Nancy Olivierri (Professor of Paediatrics, University of Toronto.) have being coming here  many times for work in this field. Nancy recently came here for the 76th time!

They have raised funds abroad for a charity named Haemoglobal and established centers in Kurunegala and Kelaniya. Two of our academics have been trained in Oxford and returned with PhDs’. At Anuradhapura where I am a visiting professor, there are over 300 thalassaemics who are being followed up. We need funds for various activities such as community screening, counselling, iron chelation studies, BMTs etc,

Meththa Rehabilitation Foundation

A good friend of mine Dr. Panagamuwa, started a limb fitting facility in Mannar few years ago. He is a surgeon and was a colleague of mine for many years in Galle. He went to the UK in the early nineties, gave up surgery and specialised  in limb fitting and rehabilitation work.The beneficiaries in Mannar were the civilian victims of the war because the soldiers were cared for by the government. He got down container loads of equipment from the UK, trained local personnel and treated many hundreds of patients and thereby changed their destiny. He has cleared that reservoir in the North.

Later he set up similar facilities in Mankulam and Maho and attends to amputees, majority of whom are victims of road traffic accidents and diabetics. He has sent prosthetic technicians to the University of Salford in UK and one of them has already returned and is working in Maho. Initially, he used funds donated by expatriate Sri Lankan doctors and Tamil diaspora. He used his personal funds as well at times of need. His project is called the Meththa Rehabilitation Foundation (MRF). He fits an average of one artificial limb a day and has acquired a fully equipped bus to conduct mobile clinics. Already he has visited Batticaloa and other areas in the North. He will be visiting Galle in early February. The monthly expenditure for the project is about Rs, 900,000.00 and is dependent on donors and I am one of them.

If you wish to contribute, I could send you details of the bank account and contact details of Dr. Panagamuwa. 

Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Aetiology  (CKDU)

This project involves patients afflicted with Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Aetiology (CKDU). It affects farmers in the Polonnaruwa area but is spreading to other areas in the deep South as well. In spite of extensive studies, its causes are unknown as yet. Mr Ranjith Mulleriyawa is helping the people of this area in different ways. He is an old Royalist (49 group) and his contemporaries had been Brendon Gooneratne, JB Peiris et al. He is providing water storage tanks of 5000 litres capacity to harvest rain water. He is in need of a social worker very badly to visit houses and educate people. I have started supporting his project financially in a small way. His project is called the Kandy Kidney Protection Society. You may have read his articles in the Island and Sunday Island newspapers. If you wish to contribute I could send you further details.

Kind regards,



  1. If any one wishes to contribute,
    MRF A/C Number 076010094381 HNB Cinnamon Gardens Branch
    Kandy Kidney Protection Society, A/C Number34393 BOC Kandy Branch

  2. Thanks for all this information about these organizations, Sanath. I am sure that people will do what they can. I am sorry that I am so late with this response, but I have been a bit preoccupied. I will be visiting Maho this week and will send you an email after that.