“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.
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).
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’