I am indeed honoured that the College has entrusted me with the role of the President, and deeply conscious of the tremendous responsibility that this post entails. I am also very aware of the fact that I’m a Parasitologist whose main interests lie in the prevention and control of helminth infections, something that is a little outside of the mainstream of Clinical Microbiology. However, our Council brings together specialists from all the areas that our members work in, and together we will try to meet the needs of all our members, as well as the Ministry of Health and other entities that we work with.
I have been a member of the Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists for about 20 years now and seen at first hand, how the College has grown and flourished over this period. When I first joined the College we had less than 50 members, the Annual Sessions lasted for just one day, and we had hardly any other activities. Today, we have nearly 200 members, and our College activities include educational programmes like the monthly CME activity and the other workshops organized by the College, as well as long-running research projects like the Antibiotic Resistance Surveillance Project and the National Laboratory Based Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance Project. College members function in an advisory capacity to the Ministry of Health on a number of different activities: hospital quality indicators and patient safety is the latest, but there are many other long-standing Ministry committees, such as the Task Force in Microbiology, which include representation from our College. Our immediate Past President Dr Kumudu Karunaratne and a number of other College members have been very active in drawing up a series of guidelines for use of antibiotics, which are then adopted by the Ministry of Health. And of course, our Annual Sessions now last at least 3 days and provide a forum for continuing professional development, presentation of research findings and most importantly, for fellowship.
All this is possible only because the members of our College have worked tremendously hard to make it happen. Every year, each new President and Council have pushed the bar higher, and improved the quality of events and activities organized by the College. During the course of the next year, the new Council and I will try to live up to the expectations created by all those who have preceded us. But in order to really achieve our full potential, we need the active involvement of all our College members, not just the Council. I earnestly hope that you will give us that support, so that our College goes from strength to strength.
Prof Nilanthi de Silva