Inauguration of the Clinical Society of Polonnaruwa

Inauguration of the Clinical Society of Polonnaruwa

“A Historic Event” – 1986

At that time there were only three Medical Specialists in the entire Polonnaruwa district; a Surgeon, a Physician doing the work of a Paediatrician as well and an Obstetrician/ Gynaecologist. All three were stationed at the Base Hospital. The rest were Doctors and Registered Medical Practitioners (RMP’s) working in District and Peripheral Hospitals in Polonnaruwa. There were only a few Doctors with MBBS degree. The three specialists had just returned from their overseas training after obtaining their respective postgraduate degrees in UK.

It was our duty to update the medical knowledge of those serving in this downtrodden area that had very minimal medical facilities at its disposal. They had no way to improve their medical knowledge. There was no library at the Base Hospital or anywhere else. We were thinking in terms of a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program for them. The best way to do that was through the formation of a Clinical Society as all the medical practitioners were scattered in various locations in the District. The Doctors and RMP’S in the District were informed and encouraged to join the Society. It was a welcome move and everyone joined very willingly. The idea was not only to develop one’s knowledge but also meant as a forum for fellowship.

Inauguration of the Clinical Society – Polonnaruwa
From Left to Right – Dr B F S Samaranayake, Dr Ajita Wijesundere, Dr Gamini Goonetilleke,

Dr Anula Wijesundere

We organized the inaugural meeting and invited all the medical practitioners of the District to participate. It was held in a hotel in Polonnaruwa. After a short address by Dr B F S Samaranayake the District Medical Officer (DMO) the office bearers were elected. As expected there was no contest. I was elected the Founder President of the Clinical Society that was formed in Polonnaruwa. The DMO, late Dr B F S Samaranayke, Dr Anula Wijesundere, the Physician and Dr Ajita Wijesundere, the Obstetrician/ Gynaecologist were the other active office bearers of this society. Meetings of the Clinical Society were held regularly at different venues, with lectures and presentations on various subjects of medical interest relevant to the area. On occasions there were Specialists from other hospitals delivering Guest Lectures on various topics. These lectures were of course followed by fellowship, drinks, sing song, dance and dinner. Everyone enjoyed the fellowship sometimes more than the lecture itself. The doctors came to know each other and great comradeship developed thereafter in this sleepy town of Polonnaruwa!

The Clinical Society that was inaugurated in 1986 continues to date with the participation of an extended membership in view of the expansion of the health services in the District with more Specialists and Doctors with the MBBS Degree working for the greater benefit of the people.

It was my privilege and pleasure to participate in a Joint meeting of this society now called the Clinical Society of the District General Hospital, Polonnaruwa together with the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) held at the auditorium of the new hospital complex on 31st July 2019. This was on the invitation of Dr Anula Wijesundere – President of the SLMA in 2019 who was a founder member of the Clinical Society of Polonnaruwa in 1986. Ajita too participated. We were accorded a grand welcome by the Director and staff of the District General Hospital Polonnaruwa.

Three former Consultants, Guest Speakers at the meeting.

Dr Anula Wijesundere – Malaria– The Polonnaruwa experience in the 1980’s

Dr Ajita Wijesundere – Interesting Obstetric experiences in the 1980’s

Dr Gamini Goonetilleke  – Surgical experiences in Polonnaruwa in the 1980’s

Prof. Asvini Fernando and Prof Ranil Fernando also delivered lectures together with the present consultants of the District General Hospital, Polonnaruwa ( Please see news letter below).

Director  of  The  District  General  Hospital, Polonnaruwa  presenting  memento  to 
Gamini, Mementos,  Anula,  Gamini,  Ajita  with  the  mementos  received.

Dear Reader, you might also be interested in my next story is about the introduction of red ball cricket to Polonnaruwa : ‘THE DAWN OF RED BALL CRICKET IN POLONNARUWA – 1982’

0 thoughts on “Inauguration of the Clinical Society of Polonnaruwa

  1. Dear Dr.Gamini,

    Your post on the Clinical society meeting of Polonnaruwa brought back memories of my days in the pharmaceutical sector.

    The numerous clinical society meetings we participated in, and the close relationship we had with the medical profession.

    Those were the days!

    Thank you doctor.


    1. Dear Dehan
      Thank you. Yes, those were the good old days where we worked and had fun with clinical meetings/ fellowship where we met the representatives from Pharma companies who later became friends.
      Best wishes
      Gamini Goonetilleke

  2. Lovely one Gamini. Reminesent of my stint just before this
    See how young the consultants also looked.
    Warm regards

  3. Thankyou Gamini for this wonderful presentation. It brought back fond memories and enjoyed seeing the youthful looks of all 34 years ago. Well done and keep up the good work.
    Warm regards from me and ANULA ,

  4. Ajita, Anula and our colleague Gamini, surgeon and old Joe are all held in high esteem by their peers and are on top of their professional careers. They have done great service to the country. Best wishes

  5. Thanks Gamini, for sharing this blog. I have all my respects to you as an icon in the medical profession.

  6. Dear Sir,
    We have come many a times all the way from Colombo representing the pharmaceutical industry and participated in these memorable events. I could remember in one of the events you were dressed up in a lady’s dress during the fellowship bringing smiles on everyone’s face.
    Great memories !
    Chris Weerasinghe

    1. Dear Chris
      Thank you. Yes, those were the memorable days. I think that meeting was held at Hotel Amalian Nivas. We had a jolly good time after the medical meeting.
      Best wishes
      Gamini Goonetilleke

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