Discovering the potential to heal | Daily News

Discovering the potential to heal

Faculty of Medical Sciences - University of Sri Jayewardenepura


The Faculty of Medical Sciences (FMS) of University of Sri Jayewardenepura (USJP) will complete 25 years in March this year. To commemorate this important milestone and to auspiciously mark occupation of the newly constructed Phase IV building complex of the faculty an all night pirith ceremony was held on January 19 with the participation of the reverend clergy led by the then Chancellor of the university Late Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Nayakathero followed by an alms giving.

The establishment of a Faculty of Medical Sciences to conduct an undergraduate course for the MBBS and BSc course in Human Biology was approved in July 1992. Dr. H. H. R. Samarasinghe was appointed as the co-ordinator of the new Faculty.

The Faculty was opened on March 1, 1993 and 139 students were registered for the MBBS course. As the first Faculty of Medical Sciences in Sri Lanka we take a lead role in training an entire team of health professionals required for the country realizing the high national need.

Late Professor M.T.M. Jiffry, Professor of Physiology assumed office in January 1996 as the first Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences taking up his responsibility with much enthusiasm and motivation.

The initial building of the FMS began with stage I of the building programme on January 12, 1995 and progressed very rapidly. The building was situated on land acquired by the University for the Faculty of Medical Sciences, from Methsevana detention centre adjacent to the main University campus.

The prime objective of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura established in 1993 as the sixth medical school out of the eight in Sri Lanka, is to turn out medical graduates and graduates of Allied Health Sciences who are equipped with necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes and mind set to provide health care services in any part of the country.

The Faculty offers five undergraduate courses namely Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), BSc Honours in Human Biology, BSc Honours in Nursing, BSc Honours in Medical Laboratory Sciences and Bachelor of Pharmacy Honours. Currently there are 1,287 undergraduates following different degree programmes in the Faculty of Medical Sciences. Each year approximately a batch of 160 students enters the faculty to follow the MBBS degree programme and 75 for the paramedical degree programmes. All these courses are conducted in English.

The Faculty has 17 academic departments and three paramedical units which are staffed by 43 Lecturers, 72 Senior Lecturers and 27 Professors in addition to an extended Faculty consisting of Consultants from the Ministry of Health and the clinical and para-clinical staff who are involved in patient-care activities.

Late Prof. Dayasiri Fernando who was the second Dean, Prof. Narada Warnasuriya and Prof. Jayanta Jayawardena gave the leadership necessary for the faculty to achieve present high standards.

The Stage 3 was completed in 2006 and the departments of Surgery, Paediatrics and the new air conditioned Examination Hall are located in it. The Resource Centre was completed in 2006 and the IT, Language and Clinical Skills laboratories are also housed in it.

The new Paramedical building to provide infrastructure facilities for the new three paramedical degree programmes was completed in 2008 during the Deanship of Prof. Jayanta Jayawardene.

In 2012, with Prof. Mohan De Silva as Dean and Dr. N.L.A. Karunaratne as the Vice-chancellor, the faculty acquired a further five acres of land from Methsevana detention centre to commence the Phase IV Development Project.

Cabinet approval was granted on October 18, 2012 for a total cost of Rs. 1,362,909,935/= (Rupees 1.36 billion) for the Phase IV development project.

A bid submitted with a unique design of a futuristic medical faculty which will serve as a land-mark design in the development of Sri Lankan medical faculties was approved by the Cabinet appointed procurement committee. It houses the administrative division and ten departments of the FMS; modern state of the art Family Practice Centre to serve the health care needs of more than 3,000 families in the vicinity of the university; examination hall with all facilities, a cafeteria with open area concept to enhance the welfare facilities for students and to serve staff and the visitors. The peripheral area will be landscaped with provision for vehicle parking to blend with the natural environment.

Foundation stone for the Phase IV building complex was laid down on March 12, 2014 by then Minister of Higher Education S. B. Dissanayake on invitation by Prof. Mohan De Silva who was the then Dean.

Under the leadership of Prof. Surangi Yasawardene who assumed duties as Dean in November 2014 and Prof. Sampath Ameratunga the Vice-chancellor the Phase IV Building complex project was successfully completed within the target date.

The students of the faculty undergo Clinical teaching at Colombo South Teaching Hospital, Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital and Homagama Base Hospital, the three teaching hospitals of the faculty. The National Cancer Institute, Maharagama, National Institute of Mental Health, Angoda and certain special units of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka are also used in the clinical training. The Consultants from the Ministry of Health working in these hospitals make the extended faculty under whom the students undergo their clinical training. Community Health training in the Community Health Unit is also mandatory.

The Faculty offers an extensive training programme in Family Medicine at a purpose built modern Family practice centre. The centre also serves the health care needs of more than 2,000 families in the vicinity of the University at a minimum cost.

All students are trained in research methodology in third and fourth years and have to submit a research dissertation at the end of fourth year. Some students with the support of supervisors present their research work at scientific fora nationally or internationally. The Faculty also offers MPhil and PhD degrees mostly in medical and allied health sciences.

Final year students of BSc (MLS) programme are managing two laboratories in Kalutara district under the supervision and discussions are held with Western Province Director of Health in order to strengthen the laboratory service of some selected hospitals of the Western Province with the assistance of our MLS students.

Research collaborations have been established with key international research groups and laboratories such as University of Oxford, National University of Singapore, Faculty of Medicine University of Trondheim Norway, Gothenburg University and University of Uppsala, Sweden addressing national priorities and current global issues. Academic members and students of FMS, USJ have won many international and national research awards.

The Linnaeus - Palme Student and Teacher Exchange Programme between Kristianstad University, Sweden and FMS, USJ has been functioning for the past five years. The teachers from the School of Health and Society, Nursing Programme, Kristinstad University participate in teaching-learning activities in the BSc Nursing Programme and meet the students who are enrolled in Master of Integrative Health Sciences offered (on-line) through the above collaboration.

The foreign exchange students elective programme attract many foreign students for training in the faculty as undergraduates and post graduates to learn about diseases and services available in a middle income and tropical country. The faculty has provided opportunities to many students, and receives a high demand each year requesting training positions by these overseas students.

The faculty has progressed rapidly to achieve a position to become one of the most sought after medical faculties in the country. In line with the strategic intent to be the best medical faculty in Sri Lanka and to be rated as one of the best in South East Asia, the faculty is pursuing an ambitious programme to develop its infrastructure and research facilities to be on par with the best universities in the Asian sub-continent.

In order to achieve the potential for excellence, a pragmatic approach is needed with careful planning. The students must be trained to provide quality care to patients and to conduct research focusing on health priorities in the country.



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