12th March. Please vote for Jeeves Wijesuriya as No 1 for the BMA Council.

On March the 15th BMA members will get a paper ballot form in the mail which you will need to fill in and send back.  Please vote for Jeeva Wijesurya and make sure your voice is heard in this election!

Jeeves has a message for you.

"For all the reasons below, I hope you will Vote for Jeeves Wijesuriya number 1 for BMA Council!

BMA Council is the most Senior Board of the BMA, made up of representatives from all Branches of Practice, GPs, Consultants, SASC Doctors and Junior Doctors. Right now we face challenges on all fronts to our profession and our Health Service.

I believe we need experienced clear voices to support our committee in gaining improvements not just to our contract, but our training and working lives. Alongside this we must ensure the changes and safety systems we fought so hard for really work. To do that we need leadership and representation from Junior Doctors on Council.

I have worked tirelessly to deliver real improvements and speak for our profession and our health service. When you get your ballot in the post, please fill it in and consider voting for me No 1 so I can continue to do so.

On March the 15th BMA members will get a paper ballot form in the mail which you will need to fill in and send back. Whoever you do vote for, please please make sure you get your votes sent back so your voice is heard in this election!

Please click on this link (Vote for Jeeves Wijesuriya) for more information on why you should cast your vote for Jeeves.

Vote for Jeeves Wijesuriya in BMA Council election


6th MARCH 2018. Calling all SLMDA Members.

Important news on Hotel Accommodation for SLMDA Spring meeting.- preferential rate subject to availability. Book asap to avoid disappointment.

Message from Mano.

Dear  all

Please pass the following information to your friends to book Holiday Inn Elstree with a concession rate of £79 including breakfast.

They need to call the hotel directly on the following number-  08719429071 and quote the code SLM. Hotel needs to be booked before 30th April but is subject to availability.

Kind regards




The website now includes full information about how to become a member and the forms that need to be submitted are now available on this website. Please navigate to "Home" and hover your mouse pointer on "Home" and you will see "Join the SLMDA". Click on this to view the instructions. [ My thanks to Kaushal for implementing this- MG]

FIRST NOTICE - SPRING EVENT 2018 (Scientific sessions and Dinner Dance)

The Spring event will be held on Sunday the 6th of May at the Holiday Inn London-Elstree,  M25-J23, WD6 5PU

SLMDA May 2018 general posterV3


Obituary Notices and Appreciations

(1) Prof. Thambipillai Varagunam:

A medical academic with a vision


When I was a medical student in the seventies, the majority of my teachers were conservative in their approach to imparting knowledge. Although they instilled the values and ethos required of a future doctor, they were reluctant to embrace the changes to develop the students nor did they make any attempt to nurture enquiring minds!

Prof Varagunam, however, was an exception for he was very enthusiastic to explore new ways of learning advocated by Western academics. His enthusiasm was augmented by what he saw and learnt in Illinois, USA where he obtained his Master’s Degree in Medical Education.

He was a visionary, one of its first kind in the mid-sixties, perhaps, better described as the doyen of medical education when he set foot in Peradeniya as a lecturer in Medicine.

On February 7, 2018 generations of past medical students lined up in Kandy to pay their last respects as the mortal remains of the late Prof Varagunam lay at the funeral parlour.

A cross-section of the population from many parts of Sri Lanka and across the globe mourned the passing away of the gentle giant who dedicated his lifetime serving the Faculty of Medicine, Peradeniya as Assistant Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and then, Professor of Medicine, the post he held until 1979.

His achievements during this period were legendary. While Chairing the division of Medicine, he took over the medical education department from Prof Bibile, bringing under his wings Drs Jayawickremarajah and Palitha Abeykoon who too made their own mark in the specialty.

Thambipillai Varagunam was born in Kallady Upodai, in the Eastern Region, on November 8, 1930, and the only child of the late Mr Thambipllai and Mrs Sellathangam Thambipillai. The former was an Assistant Medical Practitioner and a well-known philanthropist.

Young Varagunam received his early education at Govt Central College, Batticaloa, and moving to Royal College, Colombo where he excelled in academics and sports, Rugby being his forte.

Entering the University of Ceylon to read medicine in 1950, he qualified in 1955 taking up training posts in Colombo North after which he left for UK to further his training.

On completing the training with a membership of the Royal College of Physicians, Varagunam returned to Colombo to join the Department of Medicine as a lecturer.

His return coincided with the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine at Peradeniya which he chose as his base.

When the late Prof Macan Markar relinquished his duties at Peradeniya the then Vice-Chancellor of the University, the late Sir Nicholas Attygalle hand picked Varagunam as the person to Chair the Department. Varagunam reciprocated the trust Sir Nicholas placed on him with his exemplary leadership and commitment. The modernization of medical education resonated well with the expectations of his students.

He married Thayalam Sabaratnam, daughter of the late Dr Sabaratnam in 1962. She has been a tower of strength to him for the last 55 years.

The Prof was a very compassionate man extremely popular among all who came in contact with him. Sudharma Vidyatilake, his former trainee house officer and my contemporary, currently a consultant haematologist recalls the days she enjoyed sumptuous meals prepared by Mrs Varagunam at their house where the juniors would often gather. Apparently, this was a routine the Prof would carry out for all his trainees.

Prof Varagunam retired from the University in 1979, and then served the WHO as a consultant in Tropical Diseases for a period of ten years based in Geneva.

Thereafter,when he returned to Kandy, the Government sought his help to establish the medical school in Batticaloa. This was a great opportunity for the Prof to contribute to his birthplace, as the Chancellor of the Eastern Province University.

The Prof never opted for private practice, but was more focussed on rendering necessary help to the institution he served, and promoting the activities of the Peradeniya Medical School Alumni Association of which he was a patron.

Troubled by peripheral neuritis he had to cut down his activities although he remained intellectually sharp retaining his sense of humour until he was called to rest.

Philanthropy was in his genes, and he donated vast acres of ancestrally owned land in Karativu for a hospital to be built for the local residents. In addition, part of his property was acquired by the state for the Eastern University complex.

He was down to earth and simple in his ways, and was also a man of good humour.

On February 4, 2018, he succumbed to complications arising from prostate cancer.

Fate was such that as the nation woke up to commemorate the independence, from colonial rule, his students, colleagues and patients began to grieve the loss of a great physician, a teacher, mentor and a true friend who touched several hearts.

An ebullient clinician, academic and a gentleman always displaying a pleasant disposition, Prof Varagunam enjoyed the company of his old students. I was very privileged to meet him often in the last 15 years.

Last year, the Prof stuck a jubilant mood on the day I touched on his ‘alma mater’ days at Royal as it was of mutual interest for us. It was Rugby he wanted to discuss! He told me how he hooked the ball in 1948 to help Royal beat the Trinity Lions scoring 6-3 on the first leg and then 8-6 on the second leg, overpowering the Lions again at their own grounds in Asgiriya to wrest the Bradby Shield.

Our last meeting was at his daughter’s residence in July 2017 in the UK. He returned to Kandy in Aug 2017.

He leaves behind his wife Thayalam, three daughters Mira, Radha and Sita and four grandchildren.

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” ― Rabindranath Tagore.

May his soul rest in peace.

Sati Ariyanayagam
- A grateful student 1972 -1976 


(2) Dr A J M J B Walalawela
Retired Director of Quarantine Services
Ministry of Health. Srilanka

dr walawela
1950 - 2017

"Nirvana is not the blowing out of the candle. 
It is the extinguishing of the flame because the day is come"- Rabindranath Tagore

Walale, as he was known to his friends, was a charismatic soft-spoken young medical student  when we first met him at the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Veterinary Sciences within the University Campus at Peradeniya on the 18th Jan1972, the date he referred to as the  'jour de gloire' in his editorial for the souvenir published at the Reunion in Oct 2016.

On being awarded his medical degree the young Dr Walawela was posted to the General Hospital Badulla where he undertook his early training followed by a tenure as a medical officer at Minipe and then at Deltota in the central province. Towards the end of 1983, he travelled to the Sultanate of Oman for a brief spell as a general practitioner returning to Srilanka betrothed to Nilani Ratnayake, a school teacher whom he married on the 19th Sept 1985.

Attracted to the speciality of medical administration he took up the position of Deputy Director at the University Hospital at Peradeniya serving the people of Kandy his place of birth.  He took special responsibility for the education of those professions allied to medicine especially the area of nursing. He was then promoted as the Regional Director of Medical Services for the Monaragela district ensuring the smooth functioning of government institutions. He was a skilful and fair but a firm administrator with an affable personality whose admirable qualities held him in good stead to uphold the ethos contained within the national policy of providing a free medical service to the people of SriLanka.

He was subsequently appointed by the Ministry of Health as the Director of NationalQuarantine Services taking charge of preventive health with the main focus on the ports of entry playing a vital role at the peak of the Avian A HIN1 flu epidemic. He represented Sri Lanka at the ASEAN conference held in Manilla in 2009 in the Philippines; chairing some of the plenaries addressing the challenges posed by the Avian flu epidemic in the South East Asian region. He was also called in to manage the crisis that followed the scandal in connection with the importation of 'digestive' biscuits from India around the same time.

Walale retired from the national health service in 2010 at the compulsory retirement age of 60. Being a workaholic he was unable to decline an offer as the company medical director for a private sector establishment, the Ihala Kothmale Plant, based in Talawakalle where he spent the next two years by which time he has spent most of his working life serving the nation away from Kandy where his family was based. Failing health at this stage meant that he was unable 
to continue with this job. He returned to Kandy to spend his remaining days at Katugastota in his family home with his wife and children.

Jayananda Bandara Walalawela was born on the 09th of November 1950 in Kandy to the late Mr and the late Mrs Jayasekera. He was one of six children. Mr Jayasekera was a direct descendant of Dingirirala who dwelling in the village of Walalawela in the Hangurangetha district rebelled along with Puran Appu & Gongale Godabanda fighting the foreign dominance by the British Raj in the mid-eighteenth century

He received his primary education in Kandy at Vidyartha College moving on to St Sylvester's with academic achievements at both schools. Walale entered the University of Ceylon as it was then called in 1972 opting to read medicine at the historic and scenic Peradeniya campus.

A very modest man of ethical principles focussed on simple living he defied many of his contemporaries during the 1983 civil unrest and the ensuing turmoil often referred to as the black July, treating the victims of violence with compassion no matter which ethnic background they belonged to! Something his son Niluksha recalls with pride. 

An avid reader, a linguist with an aptitude for Sinhala, English and French, Walale was a great admirer and follower of the late Prof Ediriweera Sarathchandra, the renowned playwright and dramatist. Gifted with a liberal mind and incisive analytical skills he was a caring father and a loving husband never prescriptive towards his children. Daughter Chamalka reminisces how Walale discouraged them from sitting their year 5 scholarship exams for he believed that children
should learn but not be compelled to compete at this young age; a view that is shared by many contemporary western educationalists promoting equality.

Walale was a grateful servant of his alma maters actively contributing to the OBA functions. He had an interest in Tennis, Rugby and Cricket volunteering as a sports medical officer to various organisations. He accompanied the SAARC team to India in the early nineties as its medical officer. He wrote to the newspapers in his spare time and also organised several blood donation camps.

Although a quite & an unassuming introvert he was a raconteur of class fondly remembered by his batch mates as the great networker who brought them together to Kandy in October 2016 to celebrate a reunion 40 years since graduation, a remarkable feat given that this batch is now scattered all around the globe. Many of his friends will recall the trouble he took to attend the event with Nilani despite his poor health for he wanted to be among us celebrating the big day. 
Little did we realise that it was going to be our last meeting in person!

A nominal Buddhist but with an altruistic attitude towards humanity,  Dr Walalawela's legacy could be described in the words of Martin Luther King Jr who  once said "The quality, not the longevity, of ones' life, is what is important"

May his soul rest in peace.

Dr Jayananda Bandara Walalawela was called to rest on the 25th Dec 2017 and is survived by his son Niluksha, daughter Chamalka and wife Nilani

Dr Chandra Abrew Dr Gamini Jayasekera Dr Nanda Wahalawatte Dr Sathi Ariyanayagam



Note from Dr Mahendra Gonsalkorale.

More details will follow soon. The SLMDA wishes to place on record our appreciation of Kaushal Keraminiyage who managed this website for several years and introduced many innovations.Quiet and unassuming, he never failed to deliver what was asked of him. It was a pleasure to provide support to him at the request of the Committee. He will be succeeded by Dr Harsha Jayamanne. 

kaushal ker



Previous News Items

Senior Consultant Paediatrician Dr Ramya De Silva has won the Medical Journal (BMJ) South Asia award for ‘Healthcare Innovation of the Year’ 2017 in India.

The Neonatal Transport Project carried out by Dr Ramya de Silva, at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children, Colombo won the British Medical Journal (BMJ) South Asia awards 2017 in the ‘Healthcare Innovation of the Year’ category.

Dr de Silva received the award from India’s Health and Family Welfare State Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey at the ceremony held at Hotel Shangri-La, New Delhi on November 18,2017.

BMJ’s Editor-in-Chief Dr. Fiona Godlee said the fourth edition of the BMJ awards has become bigger than previous editions with 2015 nominations from across the region.

“We had to do the hard task of shortlisting 30 finalists and eventually select 13 winners in different categories.The work done by all of them are of the highest standards and innovative in approach, that eventually makes a positive impact on the lives of many a people. ‘The Neonatal Transport project initiated by Dr de Silva has now become a national programme. Sri Lanka is the first country in South Asia to have a neonatal transport service at national level.

The Health Ministry has incorporated the neonatal transport service as a way forward to reduce the neonatal deaths which contribute to 75.1% of deaths that occur under 5 years.

Dr. Ramya de Silva was the President of the Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians (2015/2016), President of the Perinatal Society of Sri Lanka (2012/2013) and Founder President of the Neonatal Transport Forum.


Events for your diary in 2018:

a. Charity concert - Saturday 3rd March 2018 in Billericay (Cancelled-apologies)

b.    Spring meeting and AGM on Sunday the 6th of May 2018 - Holiday Inn in North London 

c.   Law-Medical cricket match– Saturday the 21st July 2018

c.    Musical event in London – Saturday the 21st July 2018 

d.  SLGS vs SLMDA  Golf Tournament - Wednesday 29th August 2018


The SLMDA-COSSL Collaborative Communication Skills workshop was held on October 21st, 2017.

At the Teaching hospital, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, This was jointly sponsored by the SLMDA and the College of Surgeons, Sri Lanka. It was attended by 20 people and was led by Mr Ajantha Jayatunga and Dr Rasieka Jayatunga. The event was well received and there are plans to repeat it.

COSSL SLMDA workshop 1


SLMDA SEPTEMBER 30th DANCE UPDATE 2nd October 2017. 

The Charity Ball was a grand success. Full credit to President Ruwan De Soysa and his Team. A Council photograoh was taken and will appear in the Council section soon.

Read a report including photos, in Newslanka. http://newslanka.net/report_on_slmda_uk_autumn_charity_ball.html


THE SPECIAL 35th Anniversary Souvenir in full colour

This was edited by Mahendra Gonsalkorale and Prof. DYD Samarawickrema and produced by Mahendra for printing. It is a 60-page publication in full colour on high-quality paper. It is a valuable archive and chronicles the period 2007 to 20017 and includes a wealth of information and interesting articles and photos. The 25th Anniversary issue produced in 2007 covered the previous period. It is available for £5 per copy (3 for £10). All proceeds will be used for funding SLMDA projects. Please contact any committee member if you would like a copy.or send a request through the Contact facility on the Home Page. Postage costs not included.

Video link to Prof David Warrell lecture at the Liverpool Spring Scientific Meeting 2017

Please visit the link below to watch the Prof David Warrell lecture at the Liverpool Spring Scientific Meeting.

Video link

SLMDA vs SLGS Golf Tournament for the Jeeva Siriwardena trophy won by the SLGS Team

 The second annual friendly match was held on the 30th of August at the Oxfordshire Golf Course and was won Once again SLGS were the winners by a slim margin. (3/2).We are all very grateful to Dr.Bandu Gaminirathna for facilitating this event at his club

Sri Lanka Medical Association of North America (SLMANA) Charity Ball New York November 11th 2017

The President of the SLMANA has sent the following invitation to our President, Ruwan De Soysa.

Hi Ruwan,
On behalf of SLMANA, the committee and I wish to invite you and other members of your organization  to our Charity Ball to be held on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at The Edison Ball Room in New York, NY, USA.
We hope to see you on November 11, 2017
Darshi Sunderam MD
President SLMANA
Sri Lanka Medical Association of North America

SLMDA Autumn Charity dinner dance Saturday, September 30th. Carden Park Hotel, Chester. CH3 9DQ

The 35th-anniversary SLMDA dinner dance will be held on Saturday 30th of September at Carden Park Hotel, Chester. Details will follow.

Tickets are priced at £70 per person. If you pay for your ticket by the 1st of September, each ticket will be discounted to £65 per person. Parking is FREE!

Ticket includes a Reception drink, Three-course dinner and wine.

Payment details: SLMDA UK sort code 30-19-14 A/C 00686216. Reference: your name.
Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. when you have paid.
Alternatively, you can purchase tickets from any committee member.

Dress code for ladies: coral colour (not mandatory). Gentlemen: Black Tie.


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