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
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
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
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.