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Sunday, 12 October 2014

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Medical Degree at lower cost:

Curbing drain on foreign exchange

There is a contention among the public regarding private medical colleges that the setting up of private medical colleges can undermine the status and importance of state Medical Colleges. Those who can afford, send their children abroad even if they do not qualify for entrance to state universities, but for those who have no finances but are qualified to enter state universities but have not been selected , they have to wait without fulfilling their ambition. Setting up private medical colleges is the solution to this problem. There can be many opinions in society, but rather than sending students abroad and wasting money and reducing the foreign exchange reserve you can now obtain a medical degree with the necessary qualifications with minimum expenditure and it also prevents the waste of money spent on going abroad to study.


The board of directors of the Dr. Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital in Malabe.
Pic : Susantha Wejegunsekera

Dr. Neville Fernando, founder of the Dr. Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital in Malabe said that there was no medical institution in 1977. Later on they decided to allow students in Jaffna to study in the universities around the Colombo area. He, Dr. Ranjith Atapattu, and Dr.Malinga Fernando participated in creating medical institutions in Galle, he said. The is not aware about these facts. The Sunday Observer spoke to Dr. Keerthi Attanayake, who said that students from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India also come to study in this institution. The Sri Lankan standard of medical education is higher than all the Asian regions. According to him that is why our doctors perform well all over the world. The cost factor also can be taken as one reason. In other Asian countries, the facilities to study medicine and the educational standard is not so high and their charges are high. As far as they are concerned they want to uplift the standard of the academic staff as well as the students. The Dr. Neville Fernando teaching hospital , in collaboration with the Russian foundation is said to be the largest private hospital in the country. It is further scheduled to be equipped with 1002 beds, and it is the first private teaching hospital in Sri Lanka.

The hospital has also extended it's services for the welfare of the public by extending it's services those who are financially not stable, and also to 4000 people who get the Samurdhi allowance by sparing 20 percent of the beds totally free. They have also provided free transport facilities from Kaduwela to Malabe.

They have decided to expand the 164 town hall - Salmal Uyana bus route to the hospital and also several transport services. Thus for customer welfare they have taken these steps as well. Another important fact is that 75 percent of the students pay for their degree while the rest consists of those who are unable to pay student fees and having financial problems but passing with good results would enable them to qualify for a scholarship.. Dr. Sameera Senarathne, director, administration said inion with the Sunday Observer on this subject. He said that the students are studying well.

They have a proper medical faculty and they have a good academic staff. They have an excellent teaching panel who are interviewed by the UGC. Lot of people talk about the quality but they have an excellent standard and quality of the studies. A lot of groups have criticized Dr. Neville Fernando for what he's doing establishing a private medical college but they do not know that they have given a lot of scholarships .

This institution is not only for the rich. Students with financial difficulties also can enter. They have met the chairman and he has given them scholarships according to their academic qualifications and involvement in extra curricular activities. They have given scholarships worth Rs 500 million. He's doing a social service, but a lot of people don't realise this.

The South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine Ltd held a press conference on clinical training at the Dr. Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital in Malabe recently. Dr. Ananda Samarasekara, Dr. Neville Fernando, Dr. Malkanthi Chandrasekara, Dr. Deepal Samarasekara, (medical director) Dr. Sameera Senarathne, (Director, Administration) were present.

The South Asian Technology and Medical College, which is often referred to as the Malabe private medical Faculty, was set up in September 2009. It was set up in collaboration with the Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy, to give an opportunity to the students of obtaining a Russian Medical degree. Dr. Neville Fernando, contributed Rs. 800 million from his private expenses and built complex with the latest medical equipment and facilities. Though it's registered as a limited private institution it was set up with the approval of the Board of Investment, The Sri Lanka Medical Council, Health Ministry and the Ministry of Higher Education. Therefore, according to the gazette announcements dated 2011.08.30 and 2012.09.30, the MBBS Degree to students could be given. The time period of the Degree is five years.

The main building consists of an auditorium which can accommodate 550 students, other facilities and a fully equipped medical center is also available.

The courses are conducted by professors, senior lecturers, and lecturers who work in state universities. From time to time, Russian professors and lecturers from the main Russian university conduct lectures and give their support.

According to the doctors , the teaching hospital only considers applicants who have the necessary qualifications and are then granted permission to follow lectures. They act in accordance with the rules set out by the University Grants Commission.

Dr. Malkanthi Chandrasekara, said they faced many obstacles and barriers in developing medical facilities and starting Medical Colleges. She said at the Rajarata university, there is only one professor for clinical training. She goes to Batticaloa once a month, to conduct lectures, because they don't have enough lecturers. This institution only needs a limited number of facilities from the Government.

Students who get good results but do not have the chance of entering a state university can obtain a Medical Degree by entering this institution at reasonable cost, the doctors said.

 

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