Dr Malika Karunaratne
Consultant Clinical Microbiologist
MBBS, Dip (Med Micro), MD (Med Micro)
President (2023-2024), Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists
Dear teachers and colleagues,
I am deeply honored and humbled to address you as the President of the Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists for the year 2023/2024. First and foremost, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all members of the SLCM for entrusting me with this esteemed position. It is with great enthusiasm and a profound sense of responsibility that I take on this role, committing to serve the college and the country, with unwavering dedication
At this moment I remember with immense gratitude in my heart, the founding giants, board of directors, past presidents, and councils who have tirelessly shaped our College since its inception in 1969 to where it stands today.
I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the outgoing President, Dr. Rohini Wadnamby, along with her council, and the entire membership for their contributions for a highly productive year that achieved all expected targets.
Further, I extend my deepest appreciation to the enthusiastic new council, for stepping forward to serve the SLCM and our nation. Your commitment is warmly received, and I look forward to our collective journey ahead in the new council year.
Our theme for this year is "Realizing cost-effective, high- quality clinical microbiology ". This would guide our dedicated efforts to improve clinical microbiology services, all the while achieving cost savings for the nation, particularly in these economically challenging times.
Rational use of microbiology laboratory and accurate clinical interpretation of microbiology investigations is very important in achieving cost- effective microbiology services. Ordering the right tests, for the right patient, at the right time not only enhances patient care and safety, but also undoubtedly holds economic benefits. Activities such as revising the laboratory manual, developing a user guide for the rational ordering of clinically relevant microbiology investigations, and raising awareness among clinicians through inter-collegiate communication hoping to carry out in realizing this goal in the upcoming council year.
The implementation of antibiotic stewardship programmes in hospitals is vital in achieving rational use of antibiotics while optimizing the management of infectious diseases and reducing the adverse events of antibiotic usage. This effort would help to minimize unnecessary spending on antibiotics. In alignment with this year’s theme we are considering developing a national guideline for the antibiotic stewardship programme, with a focus on the following low- hanging fruits
- Establishing a separate antibiotic drug chart and order form, through the Ministry of Health
- Implementing AWaRe classification
- Publishing the already drafted the second edition of the national guidelines for Empirical and Prophylactic use of Antimicrobials. The transformation of this guideline into a mobile application will be coordinated by the college
- Encouraging a strong communication and collaboration among professional colleges to heighten awareness among prescribers and other health care staff to ensure consistent stewardship practices
- Raising awareness on the national guidelines for Empirical and Prophylactic use of Antimicrobials among prescribers
- Raising island wide awareness of health care staff, patients and public on antimicrobial resistance.
Furthermore, we will provide our support to the Ministry of Health in implementing the National Infection Prevention and Control Policy, the National Strategic Plan for combating AMR 2023-2028 and the National Biosafety Biosecurity Policy. We will also work towards streamlining the antimicrobial resistance surveillance ensuring national data is readily accessible to the general membership and the implementation of the National Inventory of Dangerous Pathogens.
It is our duty to communicate the significance of microbiology to the wider public. We will develop outreach programs and engage with the media to raise public awareness on important topics including the rational use of antimicrobials and consequences of antimicrobial resistance
Empowering the next generation of microbiologists will be continued this year as well, by providing financial support for MD dissertations. In addition, we are planning to organize several training workshops including procurement training
The active involvement of the general membership is crucial to our success. We will actively seek ways to engage you and create opportunities for your voices to be heard. I am confident that, as a united community, we can make a lasting impact. I encourage you to share your ideas, concerns, and aspirations with us. Your feedback will be instrumental in shaping the direction of our College.
Let us embark on this journey together, driven by a common passion for microbiology. I am eager to serve you, our field, and the country to the best of my ability while upholding the values of professionalism.
Dr. Malika Karunaratne
Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists