1969 – 2019

Compiled by Dr. Ranjith Perera and Dr. Kumudu Karunaratne

The Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists evolved from the Ceylon Association of Microbiologists as its parent organisation which was founded in 1969. The founder members were Dr. T. J. P. Ratnayake, Dr. Emil Wijewantha, Dr. D. L. J. Kahawita, Dr. Chalrles St. John, Dr. N. N. De Silva, Dr. S. N. Arsecularatne, Dr. P. D. P. Gunatilleke, Dr. A. Sathasivam, Dr. L. B. T. Jayasundara, Dr. V. Sivalingam, Dr. I. Balasooriya, Dr. E. E. Jeyaraj, Dr. P. M. Jayatissa, Dr. (Ms.) N. K. Kappagoda and Dr. (Ms.) H. S. Vitharanam.

The name of Ceylon Association of Microbiologists was subsequently changed to The Sri Lanka Association of Microbiologists in 1974.

At the Annual General Meeting held in July 1979, a unanimous decision was taken that the Association should evolve into the Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists (SLCM). With that decision Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists was incepted and a new constitution also was drafted.

The membership of the parent organization, Ceylon Association of Microbiologists, was 15 in 1969. The current membership of the Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists has risen to 257 in 2019.

A novel step was taken in the year 2000, during the presidency of Professor Manel Wijesundara – Dr. Karven Cooray, the then Treasurer of the College took the initiative to issue a Membership number and a membership card to all members of the college.

The objectives of the college as embodied in its constitution are as follows. 

  1. To promote the advancement of Medical Microbiology and propagate information and disseminate knowledge among its members and other groups regarding this subject by means of lectures, demonstrations, discussions and such other means.
  1. To emphasize the importance of Medical Microbiology in Sri Lanka in relation to the control of infectious diseases and advise public and private sector on microbiological problems that may arise in the country and to initiate appropriate action for their resolution.
  1. To support the representation of its members in International Conferences, Meetings and Seminars in connection with Medical Microbiology.
  1. To promote publishing of original work in Medical Microbiology.
  1. To promote research and actively assist in such work.
  1. To promote collaboration with National and International Associations with similar interests.
  1. To take steps as are required for the attainment of the above objects.

As stipulated in the Article 8.1 of the constitution, the criteria to become a member of the Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists are as follows.

“All Ordinary Members, Ordinary Life Members and Overseas Life Members should possess a basic degree in Medical, Dental or Veterinary Science registerable with either the Sri Lanka Medical Council or Veterinary Council of Sri Lanka.

In addition, they should possess a postgraduate qualification in Microbiology recognised by the Ministry of Health or by the Faculties of Medicine, Dental Science and Veterinary Science in Sri Lanka or other post graduate qualification approved by the Council.”

From the inception, the Medical Research Institute (MRI), Colombo, was regarded as the unofficial headquarters of the College, without any office space. The address of the Sri Lanka Medical Association, (No. 6, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 7) was used as the official postal address of the College. The council meetings were held at the Medical Research Institute initially for several years which later shifted to Faculty of Medicine University of Colombo or at any other suitable premises depending on the office bearers of the councils.

It was a long felt need that the College should have a separate office, at a suitable location. The activities of the College gradually expanded, with many members contributing to improve the specialty of Medical Microbiology.

In 2002, the then President of the College, Professor Jennifer Perera started a “Building fund” of Rs. 400,000/= with two fixed deposits. The funds were generated by organizing a course on antimicrobials for medical representatives and workshops for MLTs in private sector. Although action was taken to acquire office space for the College at the SLMA premises, it did not materialize at that time.

The College obtained its own office at the SLMA building from 2005 during the presidency of Dr. Gaya Colombage and received the assistance of an office secretary from 2006, Mrs. Priyanga Opatha is the first office secretary employed by the college and a small converted room in the loft of Sri Lanka Medical Association served as the college office for many years. In 2015 SLCM office was shifted to a more spacious room in the ground floor of SLMA where it is currently functioning. With the increase load of work handled by the college the services of a second office secretary was obtained in 2017.

The college was registered as a Company Limited by Guarantee under the Companies Act. No. 7 of 2007 on 16th March 2010, when Dr. Omala Wimalaratne was the President. It was Dr. Ranjith Perera who carried out this task on behalf of the College.

In 2015, during the presidency of Professor Nilanthi de Silva, the Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists was registered as a charitable organization. All activities in this regard were carried out by Professor Nilanthi de Silva.

According to the constitution of the College, a new president and a new council were elected every year.  The new president was inducted by handing over the President’s medal, initially at the Annual General Meeting and later at a separate induction ceremony. The first induction ceremony was initiated by Dr. Maya Attapattu but there was a gap of several years again until it became a routine annual event in the calendar of the college.