The members of the College of Specialists in Rheumatology and Rehabilitation Sri Lanka have given me an opportunity to be the president of an organization which I personally experienced, growing stronger and stronger over the years. I am grateful to them for giving me this opportunity to work for the betterment of the College and our patients.
I became a member in 1999, just two years after the birth of then Sri Lanka Association for Rheumatology and Rehabilitation. My dear teacher Dr. Wijayaratne giving me the application form, on the very first day I stepped into his office room at Rheumatology and Rehabilitation Hospital, Ragama, as a senior registrar. I was able to work with all past presidents since then, bringing up the College to what it is now. That gave me an opportunity to obtain unique experiences in my life.
One’s involvement with the college is not only for the benefit of Rheumatology in Sri Lanka, but also for the development of own character. It will teach you how to work with different personalities. Working with your patients, colleagues, team members, administrators, family and friends is what we will be doing in a 24 hour day at this stage of our life. The college will give you an opportunity to learn how to do better in society and also to have more balanced life, allowing you to be a better carer of patients who seek help. It is my kind appeal to you all membership, specially the younger ones to make the college a part of your life.
All our past presidents are great role models for anyone who wants to become a better person in life. They are very approachable for help, ready to share their experiences and will correct you if they see something is wrong. From these gentle giants in our field I learned how one should look after your colleagues climbing the ladder after oneself.
All of us may need to learn from our seniors, contemporaries and juniors. Please follow the good characteristics of them. If they have any downsides and if you are not in a position to correct those, forgive them. Share with others the good features of someone, do not gossip about negative characteristics. Be tolerant of different personalities. These will help us to grow as a college and as country, in unity.
Dr. Kalum Deshapriya our immediate past president, took the college to a new era. He initiated projects to have a better documentation both on paper as well as digitally and systematic collection of data of our patients. Lack of statistics of what our patients have and what we do is always a draw back when we discuss our experiences in any forum. Science of rheumatology lies there. His effort to overcome this drawback will be a landmark in the history of our college. His ILAR funded project for improvement of clinic patient documentation has brought international recognition to the college. Kalum has done the initial hard work. Now it’s our duty to commit some of our time and energy to implement it as well as the biological register in all hospitals with rheumatology clinics.
Next step should be a project to collect population based data on rheumatic diseases. It will give us a true picture of the disease burden. COPCORD – Community Oriented Program for Control of Rheumatic Diseases is an ILAR initiative launched with WHO which helps to study the MSK disease burden in a community. This needs to be studied further for feasibility to implement it in our country.
Dear colleagues, I earnestly request for your continued support and confidence to accomplish my presidential responsibilities. I will strive in every way to be worthy of your confidence and to fulfil my duties the best I can. Doing this job together with my council and all of you as a team, we will definitely achieve the best results in reaching our goals as described in our constitution.
Dr. Duminda Munidasa
President – 2019/2020