Health Center for students and staff

The University of Colombo operates two medical centers one is centrally located at Reid Avenue and the second one is at the Faculty of Medicine to cater health requirements including conducting medical examinations for new entrants, administering vaccinations on a need basis, medical counseling and laboratory testing.

  • Delivering outreach programmes and projects in the local community (which can include student volunteering programmes) to improve or promote health & well-being including hygiene, nutrition, family planning, sports, exercise, aging well, and other health and well-being related topics.
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  • The leishmaniasis awareness programme was held under the TMRC project (Prof. ND Karunaweera, Dr. TN Samaranayake, Dr. SASC Senanayake, Dr. NH Silva & Mrs. RL Dewasurendra), Malaria awareness programmes amongst high-risk groups in collaboration with the AMC (Prof. SD Fernando).
  • Project “Healthy women is a women’s health promotion campaign aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge of the public regarding pregnancy issues, gynecological health and cancers and to encourage healthy lifestyle choices for girls and women.
  • Tobacco Unmasked is the information portal of the Centre for Combating Tobacco (CCT). It contains evidence-based information on the tobacco industry, with detailed profiles of tobacco companies relevant to Sri Lanka and their employee.
    Tobacco Unmasked (TU) Information Portal
  • The Golden Z Club of the Faculty of Medicine, Rotaract Club of the Faculty of Medicine, The Core Group for Disaster Relief (CGDR), Students Involved in Rational Health Activities Many outreach activities and projects are carried out by student organizations.
  • School medical clinic at Narahenpita.
  • Counselling and mental health care provided to students of the faculty who seek help by linking them up with service providers – University Psychiatry Unit
  • Community psychiatry clinics in the Colombo Municipal Council area with the collaboration of CMC carried out in Forbes Lane, Slave Island and Pelengasthuduwa MOH clinics.
  • Prof. Piyanjali de Zoysa is the Academic Advisor to the Golden Z Club, a student body which does multiple community service projects in Sri Lanka, for which the club won the 1st place for an international award (Emma Conlon Award), for its community service activities.
  • The Department of Community Medicine conducts community Based teaching for students at Kotte Field practice area. Students work in the community as part of their training. It involves providing health related inputs to families.
  • Health education programs in collaboration with Lions International and SLCE on diabetes and COVID-19 resource person in National Television Channels in public education on living with diabetes and NCDs during COVID-19 pandemics.
  • The University Health Service provides free medical and dental care for all students via two medical centres. Sexual and reproductive health is addressed in the early course via lectures. The family medicine department plays a major role in addressing student medical matters.
  • The Department of Physiology collaborates with the research promotion and facilitation centre of the faculty to conduct monthly educational programs on the effect of meditation on health-related outcomes accompanied with meditation training to the University community (all staff and students) and also via social media for all. This is part of an ongoing World Bank funded project on meditation and health.
  • Regular sessions on STI at the Orientation Program of the undergraduate course of the Department of Medical Education.
  • School Awareness Programmes, Medical Camp, Sports programmes.
  • Providing the students, access to free sexual and reproductive health-care services including information and education services.
  • Orientation Programmes are embedded in the curriculum and via Sexual and reproductive awareness programmes. Sexual and reproductive health is addressed in the early course via lectures. The Family Medicine Department plays a major role in addressing student medical matters. Regular sessions on STI by Dr. Himani and on sexuality by Dr. Mahesh at the Orientation Program of the Department of Medical Education.
  • Students are given the opportunity to access any academic staff member for advice. Provides free student counseling services and academic mentoring through Student Counsellors and through the Personal Tutor Program of the Faculty of Medicine, Orientation programme, Free workshops, Sexual and Reproductive Programmes, Provision of information for any topic from the library.
  • Mentoring programme, Anti ragging committee, Student counsellors/ Personal tutors and student counsellors are the main two programs that help most of the students with such problems. Every student is assigned to a personal tutor that they can approach at any time for any sort of matter. This is a very beneficial program as students keep in contact with the tutors even after the degree and share many moments with them. Student counsellors serve to uplift the mental well-being of the students by professional assistance.

Neurophysiology research laboratory, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine

The Neurophysiology research laboratory was established in 2013 at the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo with funds received from an infrastructure development grant. The laboratory-initiated neuroscience research in the faculty utilizes utilizing the expertise of the founder neuroscientist who obtained her PhD from the UK. The laboratory was further developed by funding received from the World Bank via the AHEAD grant.
Currently, the laboratory provides facilities for nerve conduction studies, evoke potentials, electroencephalography, and electromyography. For the provision of a wholistic service there is a laboratory team consisting of two trained technical officers to perform the tests, a neuroscientist for detailed interpretation of tests and a neurophysician for clinical assessment and management of patients. These facilities are provided at a concessionary price for those who can afford and free of charge for those who cannot. The objective is to promote health and wellbeing of all.

HelpQuit Online Course – Centre for Combating Tobacco

Tobacco and smoking are major public health concerns worldwide. Even though there is a gradual decrease in tobacco consumption, still there is a significant proportion of tobacco users. More than 7 million annual deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Tobacco use contributes to poverty by diverting household spending from basic needs such as food and shelter to tobacco. Tobacco is consumed in both smoked and non-smoked forms in Sri Lanka.

Establishment of autonomic function and gastrointestinal physiology laboratory

Diabetes mellitus is rising worldwide particularly in southeast Asia. Therefore, the impact of the complications due to diabetes are overwhelming. Autonomic dysfunction due to diabetes and its impact on the cardiac and gastrointestinal functions are well documented. Cardiac autonomic dysfunction and diabetic gastro paresis are some of the complications which add to the mortality and morbidity due to diabetes. Early diagnosis is essential. Department of the physiology of the Faculty of Medicine is one of the closest institutions that can provide clinical diagnostic services to the National Hospital (NHSL) of Sri Lanka. Since currently these diagnostic services are not available in NHSL establishing this service in the Faculty of Medicine will undoubtedly contribute towards ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being of patients with diabetes.

Immunogenicity following anti-rabies vaccination in animals

Rabies is a vaccine preventable zoonotic disease and dog is the principal reservoir and transmitter of rabies in rabies endemic countries including Sri Lanka. Therefore, anti-rabies vaccination in canine population plays an important role to block both the urban and sylvatic cycles of rabies transmission. World Health Organization recommended 70% vaccine coverage in the canine population should be the target to establish herd immunity. In this context, immunogenicity is an important determinant for the efficacy of anti-rabies vaccination in the canine population in the country. Immunogenicity is determined by humoral and cellular immune responses. In the absence of facilities for the determination of cellular immunity we measured humoral immunity by Rapid Fluorescent Focus Inhibition Test (RFFIT).
Our research team concluded two research studies during the period from 1999 to 2013 involving free roaming (stray) and domestic dogs, in collaboration with the Department of Rabies research and Vaccine Quality Control of the Medical research Institute (MRI) where the REFFIT is established. Based on the results, we recommended to vaccinate puppies at an early stage before 3-months as there is no adequate protection by maternal immunity, followed by a booster vaccination in the first year of life. It was also recommended to give annual boosters to maintain immunity against rabies infection in this rabies endemic country. Findings of these two studies were used to revise canine anti-rabies vaccination protocol in the country in 2013 as the only available research evidence.
Furthermore, several different brands of imported anti-rabies vaccines meant for animals are available in the market. The efficacy and potency of these vaccines never being tested before registration in the country, and the registration is based on the dossiers submitted by the importing company. Therefore, our ongoing study focuses on immunogenicity and potency of ani-rabies vaccines marketed in the country using laboratory animal models under standard conditions required for comparisons, followed by a field study involving dogs with four selected vaccines based on immunogenic capacity. This study is a multi-partner study with the WHO/OIE Reference laboratory for rabies, ANSES- Nancy, France, the Animal Centre of MRI, Colombo Municipality and Public Health Veterinary services. During this ongoing study we were in a position to establish an ELISA method too at the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo which is recommended as a qualitative screening test of immunogenicity. Our aim is to find out the most suitable animal anti-rabies vaccine with high immunogenic capacity and thereby to support establishment of herd immunity in the canine population. These goals will help the global target of achieving zero human rabies deaths by 2030.

"SportySam" mobile application to promote physical activity

“SportySam” is a gamified health app that allows users to improve their physical and mental well-being through a mobile game. It is a product of the Asian Universities Alliance Youth Forum 2019 organized by the University of Colombo Sri Lanka in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) which won the first place among contestants from Japan, China, South Korea, Malaysia, India, and other major Asian countries. SportySam is introduced under the 3 rd Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) ‘Good Health and WellBeing’, addressing the problem of increased physical inactivity which is identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global deaths. It is about time that we systematically address it. Many people have become inactive due to lack of motivation, work-life balance and new pandemic induced lifestyles. ‘Sporty Sam’ uses technology as an innovative solution to fill this gap and help people regain their fitness and elevate health.
The app includes more gamification and release as a gaming application instead of a typical health application. We hypothesize that with the help of gamification, users are likely to be motivated to use the app longer which can have a lasting impact on physical well-being. SportySam introduces a ‘virtual pet’, who directly talks to the human emotions, forcing users to engage in physical activity to keep their pets happy and healthy. The health of the user is mapped to pet’s emotions/behavior. Users need be continuously active in order to keep their pet happy. Also, users can compare their pet’s health with their friends in a global leaderboard. Daily quests and streaks will help future policies to help mitigate any issues arising from the pandemic. The users’ privacy is of utmost importance to us, and any of the Personal Identifiable Information (PII) do not leave the device and is securely stored in the device. All of the communication happens over TLS and pinned communication avoiding any Man-In-The-Middle attacks and eavesdropping.