Lifestyle Diseases in Sri Lanka a Medical Tsunami
Kandy Society of Medicine annual sessions begin

The first 'big' medical event of the year in Kandy is the four day sessions of the Kandy Society of Medicine (KSM).

KSM, the pioneering, out of Colombo, first regional association of medical professionals has an unblemished track record of meeting regularly. The society's academic and professional record is excellent. This year's KSM sessions is the twenty eight in an unbroken series, giving Kandy a well deserved reputations as a regional medical hub.

The conference inauguration ceremony on Feb. 11 was at the Mahaweli Reach Hotel and the conference sessions will be held at the scenic Plant genetic Resources Centre, Gannoruwa situated amidst experimental farmland. Each annual meeting of the KSM sessions has been a much anticipated event by the Kandy medical fratemity, large numbers of Peradeniya alumni and significantly increasing numbers of the peradeniya vintage diaspora abroad. Naturally for many who come from outside for the KSM sessions, it is nostalgically a homecoming: a time to meet and talk, visit old places, familiar jaunts and keep up with colleagues and batchmates. Add to these learning never stops academic updates and professional contacts in a friendly and non coercive environment too.

KSM 2006, aptly titled a medical tsunami, has lifestyle diseases in Sri Lanka as its theme and focuses on cardiac illness and diabetes. These two diseases have been ravaging the social fabric of Sri Lanka and the KSM quite rightly has considered it opportune to focus on these. Heading the scientific sessions on cardiology is a guest lecture by a distinguished Peradeniya alumnus Prof. Shanthi Mendis who is currently the head of cardiovascular diseases at the WHO in Geneva.

Her lecture title is "A paradigm shift in cardiovascular risk factor management guidelines". Also on schedule is a high powered debate on a controversial subject, "Coconut and heart disease with Professor P. A. J. Perera, Dr. D. P. Atuorala, Dr. Renuka Jayatissa and Dr. U. P. Waidyanatha as participants.

The KSM Oration this year will be delivered by Dr. B. J. C. Perera, Senior Consultant Paediatrician, Lady Ridgeway Hospital, Colombo on "Trails and Travails of Medical Researcher."

Diabetes in the past has largely been a confined to a disease of the rich is now threatening the third world in tsunami proportions killing both the rich and the poor in its wake. KSM 2006 therefore has a lot of space in its scientific package for diabetes. A highlight of the conference, the Bibile Memorial Oration on the 9th of Feb. was on the same subject by Prof.

Devaka Fernando (University of Sheffield) entitled "The clinical epidemiology of diabetes in Sri Lanka 1990 - 2004". More on diabetes: KSM sessions include a symposium on diabetes and a follow up training program for doctors and nurses in diabetes treatment by Prof. Devaka Fernando and his team.

There is an honors role in the KSM. The KSM is perhaps the only professional organization in Sri Lanka which honours their members for achievement in other fields. This years recipients of honors and felicitations comprise four eminent medical personalities: Prof. Carlo Fonseka, Prof. Valentine Basnayake and Prof. Nimal Senanayake for their contributions to art and music. Dr. Tilak Abeysekara will receive the highly prestigious KSM Fellowship for his pioneering work in improving the nephrological services in Sri Lanka.

Medical education has been the main emphasis of the KSM this year. Over seventy lecturers have been given by various medical professionals on relevant topics. These have been of special use to the young doctors and interns. A few lecturers on general topics have been included too. The KSM has encouraged research amongst the doctors.

There has been a high standard in the research papers submitted for the KSM has encouraged research amongst the doctors. There has been a high standard in the research papers submitted for the KSM sessions. Furthermore a generous research grant by the WHO has enabled the setting up of a KSM WHO Research Fellowship.

Another important event in KSM 2006 is a release of a biography of Professor Senaka Bibile which has been specially written and commissioned by the KSM. Lecturers, workshops and academic are the essential components of the KSM but this of course is not everything that is on offer. There is a social dimension that includes entertainment, a cultural show, and winning and dinning at the conference banquet at Earls Regency Hotel.

For someone who comes from outside, even for four days, Kandy with its hills, scenery and salubrious climate with the excellent academia on offer even during the hot season is an experience to savor and a memory to treasure.


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