A Vision for Better Healthcare in Sri Lanka

16 specialist volunteers from the National University of Singapore (NUS), the National University Hospital (NUH) and SingHealth have committed themselves to a three-year healthcare training project in Sri Lanka.

Driven by a passion to pass on their medical knowledge, 16 specialist volunteers from the National University of Singapore (NUS), the National University Hospital (NUH) and SingHealth have committed themselves to a three-year healthcare training project in Sri Lanka. The programme is projected to benefit thousands of Sri Lankans in the long-term.

Minister of Health, Sri Lanka, Mr Maithripala Sirisena, Minister of Higher Education, Sri Lanka, Mr S.B. Dissanayake and officials from participating organisations take part in the traditional lamp lighting ceremony.

The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) project is organised in collaboration with Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health and the University of Colombo, with primary sponsorship by Temasek Foundation, along with contributions by other partners.

Team leader, Associate Professor Erle Lim from the NUS Teaching Academy, is among the volunteers on fire about sharing their experience and expertise. The doctor uses innovative strategies to teach his own medical students in NUS, such as using the iPad and screening films to convey lessons about human empathy and bedside manner, rather than conventional medical videos.

The volunteers are also aware that the learning that takes place will be a two-way process. Said specialist volunteer, Dr Dujeepa Samarasekara, Director, Medical Education Unit, NUS, “The Singapore team is going in with the expectation that we will be sharing our skills, resources and knowledge. But our friends in Sri Lanka are emerging from a turbulent period of their country’s history and will have a rich palette of experiences to share with us. I suspect it is we who will come away richer by the end of the programme.”

The Singapore specialists will train 210 medical, nursing and allied health educators and practitioners from Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health and the University of Colombo’s Faculty of Medicine, to enhance the knowledge, resources and skills of these health professionals, and to drive national level education that will translate into long-term improvements in the quality of public healthcare in Sri Lanka.

SIF Governor Ambassador K Kesavapany on stage with the Minister of Health, Sri Lanka, Mr Maithripala Sirisena, and Minister of Higher Education, Sri Lanka, Mr S.B. Dissanayake.

Among the trainees are 10 key healthcare leaders, 150 clinician educators and 50 doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. They will receive intensive curriculum and pedagogical training to equip them to be master trainers. They in turn, will train 250 other health professionals by the end of the three-year project, kick starting a trickle-down effect through the country’s healthcare system.

The official launch event, held on 2nd July 2013 at the University of Colombo, opened with a traditional Sri Lankan lamp lighting ceremony. It was attended by Singapore and Sri Lankan partners and beneficiaries, including the Minister of Health, Sri Lanka, Mr Maithripala Sirisena, the Minister of Higher Education, Sri Lanka, Mr S.B. Dissanayake and SIF Governor, Ambassador K. Kesavapany and Temasek Foundation Singapore’s Anjan Kumar Ghosh.

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