24 November, 2020

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Hora Upadi Kade, Medical Mafia & Contempt Of Court

By Hilmy Ahamed

Hilmy Ahamed

The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA), the Medical Faculty Students’ Union, and Inter University Students Federation are probably in contempt of court over their continued protests and trade union action against the judgment of the Court of Appeal on the registration of students of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) with the Sri Lanka Medical Council.

The landmark judgment delivered by the Appellate Court on Tuesday 31st January 2017 confirmed that the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) is legally eligible to grant medical degrees to its students. Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) has been directed by the Appellate Court to grant provisional registration to medical students passing out from SAITM’s medical degree programme. This verdict of the Court of Appeal was announced when the Writ Petition filed seeking an order questioning the decision of the SLMC on SAITM, was taken up for hearing before a bench headed by Justice Vijith Malalgoda. A MBBS graduate of SAITM filed the petition as the Sri Lanka Medical Council refused to register medical students who had passed out from the SAITM last year.

The University Grants Commission had granted approval and registration to SAITM on 30th of August 2011 to conduct the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programme, yet hundreds of medical students of SAITM were deprived registration by SLMC, citing inadequate clinical training. The Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH) was rejected by the SLMC as unsuitable for clinical training. In December 2015, at the hearing of an application filed in the Supreme Court by the SAITM students, the Health Ministry gave an undertaking to provide clinical training to the students of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) at the Avissawella Base Hospital and the Kaduwela MOH.

The medical mafia, the university students who benefit from taxpayers’ money through free education, and political opportunists have continued to protest the SAITM University’s medical degree programme as a threat to free education. They ignore or fail to protest over the hundreds of other degree awarding programmes undertaken by various private educational institutions. Why is it that only the private MEDICAL degree programme is seen as a threat to free education? The medical mafia of the GMOA, which holds the sick, to ransom every time the Government takes any decision, which benefits the majority of the citizens of the country, are spearheading a campaign against the verdict of the Appeal Court. It is time the Government addressed this menace through proper legal action against those destabilizing its democratic actions.

I am reminded about the rumours floating around during the Premiership and Presidency of Ranasinghe Premadasa. Every time the doctors took trade union action and staged strikes, he would send his goons who would go before the protesting doctors, swing a few bicycle chains and tell them “Dostara mahattayo, wedata giyanam hondai neda?” (Dear Doctor, won’t it be good if you got back to work?), and it always worked. It is time the Government took the bull by the horns, not with the bicycle chain but through proper legal means to stop these medical professionals who have benefited from free education from holding the sick to ransom. Yes, they will resort to trade union action and cripple the health sector for a while, but for how long can they sustain it? The Government should immediately ban private practice of medical doctors who are in government service, if they strike or take other trade union action and deprive the poor of medical care. After all, it is mostly the poor who are forced to seek treatment at Government facilities.

In case of an emergency, there are plenty of doctors in India who could be hired to provide decent medical services if required. The Government should strip these striking doctors of their medical registration if they are not honoring their Hippocratic oath. (The modern version of the oath is annexed at the bottom of the article for easy reference)

Thousands of students who pass with above average results are denied their choice of medical education due to the dearth in state medical colleges. Some seek universities abroad at considerable cost, while others give up on their dream of treating the sick.

Private higher education in medicine was first introduced by the government of J R Jayewardene as part of the open economy concept at the North Colombo Medical College (NCMC). It started with the admission of 100 local and 20 foreign students. The first batch of students was enrolled in 1990.

With similar protests as SAITM, the NCMC was nationalized in 1989 and it became the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya. The first batch of students of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Kelaniya completed their five-year course and graduated with the MBBS degree in September 1996. They were provided registration with the Sri Lanka Medical Council.

The next attempt at a private medical university was the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM), a brilliant concept and the brainchild of Dr Neville Fernando, a visionary social investor. This investment was undertaken in collaboration with the Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy, Russian Federation. The final year students were offered entrance to the Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy in Russia, which was recognized by the Sri Lanka Medical Council, thereby allowing its graduates to practice medicine in Sri Lanka after passing the Examination for Registration to Practice Medicine (ERPM) in Sri Lanka.

SAITM also launched a local MBBS programme 6 years ago, which was approved by the University Grants Commission. As a teaching hospital is a basic requirement for a medical degree awarding institution to provide clinical support, Dr Neville Fernando invested heavily in setting up the Dr Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital, a 1002 bed facility (a bed more than the Japanese grant of the Sri Jayawardenepura hospital to JR Jayawardene in recognition of his support at the Treaty of San Francisco or San Francisco Peace Treaty). The NFTH claims that their hospital services are affordable to the greater majority of the local population who are average or lower middle income earners, but do not compromise on service standards or the quality of medical care.

The SAITM medical college has been one of the most controversial educational institutes since the GMOA, Undergraduates from local government medical colleges, and the SLMC banded together and made every attempt to close down this institution and deprive these undergraduates of their degrees.

The irony is that these medical students and doctors who benefit from their free education are protesting against students who are paying for their education; They are even paying for the clinical training provided by the Government.

As for the SAITM students and parents, justice has prevailed. Their heavy investment from their hard earned savings without shipping them off to a foreign land never to return permanently to their motherland, has been rewarded. Even today, thousands of students are studying in many overseas universities, most of which has facilities far less than SAITM. Some of these universities in China, Russia and in the former Soviet Republics, Philippines etc. have received accreditation with the Sri Lanka Medical Council after some of SLMC inspectors have been taken on inspection tours by these universities. How is it that the Government Medical Officers Association or any other institution did not challenge the approval of these substandard universities, but call the SAITM degree as a “Hora Upadi Kade”?. How are these foreign universities recognized by the SLMC? Did anyone benefit personally?

During a conversation I had with the head of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, Prof. Carlo Fonseka, I tossed the question as to why the SAITM degree has been blocked. His response sounded reasonable. He said “The SAITM students do not have exposure to forensic medicine” and hence cannot complete their clinical training. My immediate question was, why the Government could not provide that training, even for a fee. His response, surprisingly, was that it was for the Government to take that decision.

It is left to be seen, if the Medical Mafia continues to deprive the right of a private medical education in Sri Lanka for our youth, or if they will be hauled in for contempt of court.

The grouping together of the Joint Opposition, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), the GMOA and the Students Unions do not auger well for the government’s investment plans not just in the education sector, but will affect every other. It is important that the government and the judiciary takes a firm stand and deals with these saboteurs.

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Latest comments

  • 6
    1

    I have had many asking me whether I have any conflict of intersts in SAITM. I certainly do not have any current interests in SAITM nor do I own any shares. I have a son whom I have had to ship out abroad to study medicine and I do not think that he will return to us or to Sri Lanka. We probably have lost him to another country. If these hooligans had not destroyed his opportunity, I would have had my son by my side. In this context, I do have personal interest, but now I am fighting to at least ensure that other parents do not need to lose their children. My son was keen to do medicine after he completed his London A/L at CIS. What choice did he have other than private medical education. The state universities do not take London A/L. So, if you look at it from that perspective, YES I have a conflict of interest, but whatever happens now, it is not going to help me. I have paid a lot of taxes in my life and these scoundrels study using my tax money. So, the least I can do now is to demand justice to children like my son, who would like to live and study in Sri Lanka.

    • 4
      4

      Hilmy, My question is why do you want to medicine? Is that the only course available on earth? There are many other degree programmes in Sri Lankan Universities. All those who accuse doctors and GMOA want to enter the same profession by hook or by crook and become a GMOA member? Why? Your son sits A/L three times and fail to enter medical faculty. That means he is not suitable to do medicine. Then there are other courses. Why not do science and become a teacher? Nobody wants to become a teacher. Is it a disgrace? Do you think your son can work abroad with a foreign medical degree. No way. He has to return to this country like any other foreign medical graduate. They are not accepted abroad. I propose that any bogus private medical graduate including SAITM graduates should be banned from practicing medicine in this country. A/L should be restricted to once only. In any case if you had encouraged your child to do science your child is living with you. Go by the Buddha’s teaching. Be happy with what you have.

      • 3
        0

        Farook

        Not only Buddha , Jesus Muhammad and Hindu gods
        too preached to be happy with what you have .
        Coming to Hilmy’s lament , he’s trying to put
        the blame on the system to escape from his
        “going with the flow” attitude . Srilanka is
        obsessed with MEDICAL DEGREE simply because the
        profession is godly to stupid poor masses and
        the doctors exploit it to the peak of Himalaya.
        They love to be called and respected as GODS .
        So, our demi gods are mad to become fully
        operational gods and be paid and worshipped by
        dying patients . In the west , they don’t care
        a damn about who you are . Hospitals are full
        of warnings not to be abusive towards the staff
        and such behaviour is zero tolerated ! And the
        other thing is , in Srilanka , the trend now is
        foreign education at any rate ! It is a fashion
        for stupid parents to send their children
        abroad , selling off inherited properties which
        is not earned by them so that they don’t care .
        Ego of our society has reached its bursting
        point with increasing amount of people are
        racing to win over the other in all walks of
        life . The truth . Some institutes run UK
        degree courses with students of very poor
        English knowledge . Today’s parents are raising
        their children for EXPORT IN SRILANKA AND I
        LIKE TO ASK HILMY HOW MUCH IS HE DIFFERENT ?
        The race is so intensive that almost all parents
        are so crazy to tell everyone that their children
        are somewhere out of Srilanka doing studies or
        living permanently . So . no croc tears Hilmy !

      • 2
        0

        Farook, my son did not sit three times, and at 17 years, he got brilliant results at the London A/L and is now studying medicine in a foreign university because he chose to study in that field. It had nothing to do with me or anyone else. IT WAS HIS CHOICE, He has no other option other than private medical university. He would not be entertained in the state universities with his london A/L qualification as he studied at one of the best international schools. Why and how can anyone deny him his wish to study medicine? We as parents encouraged him to study in the field he chose.

        SAITM has far better academic staff than most state universities, the learning environment is more conducive and focussed and the teaching facilities are of world class. What they are weak is in clinical training, and community medicine. Dr Neville Fernando, a great social investor built a 1102 bed teaching hospital to address this where the patients are offered concessionary medical charges. Malabe, Kaduwela, Battaramulla does not have a proper government hospital and the government could have made use of this opportunity and supported the NFTH with the facilities for community and forensic medicine. They didn’t. The Kothalawela Defense Academy which also offers a private medical degree programmes has far less facilities, and no one talks about it as Gota would have sent his firing squad. Don’t forget, these medical students are coming out as doctors with hopefully better education, ethics and with no cost to the government or taxpayers in Sri Lanka. In fact, they are even forced to pay for the clinical training offered to them by the Avissawella hospital through a court order. So, please do not try to say the quality of education is lower. Whereas these hooligans are a burden on the Sri Lankan tax payer. I have done a lot of research into the SAITM degree (because I wanted to enrol my son whom I was forced to ship overseas) and can confidently say, their degree is in par with many other or better. You will see the quality of their graduates in 5 to 10 years when they compete with these hooligans who are trying to stop them getting their registration. That is the main reason. They do not want to face graduates with better education and ethics

        • 2
          1

          Hilmy,you are exposed now.If your son is so intelligent and wanted to study medicine, why didn’t he sit local A/L. Local A/L is the only examination in this country that everyone trusts. Nobody can manipulate it. No favourations. The questions are set by godly setters. They don’t divulge even a clue or hint.
          You have a vested interest and that’s why you wrote the article. That’s why we don’t believe journalists and media people.

          • 1
            0

            Farook, you don’t want to accept that there is freedom of choice. What a person wants to study should not be decided by people like you. My son decided to go to an international school and wanted to pursue medicine as his chosen field of study. Local universities do not accept London A/L which is offered by the international schools. So, my son had not option of sitting for the local A/L. So, how do you expect him to enter a local university. Journalists and media men have to place facts as they see it and every one can be critical. The reason I wrote my article is to bring out the fact that thousands of students like my son leave our shoves never to come back to work in our country. Providing them the opportunity to learn here will certainly keep at least 10% to serve the country. And SAITM is providing this education and no cost to the state or taxpayers. So, why are you against it. The academic staff and facilities are more than adequate. Just check out the staff strength at the state universities and compare it with SAITM. I would also like to pose the challenge to the government to conduct ERPM exams to all medical undergraduates in state and private medical colleges and I can assure you, many who are shouting now would never have become doctors

          • 5
            0

            Farook Ahamed, you seem to be attacking Hilmy without any foundation. How can he have conflict of interest when he has sent his son abroad already, He is exposing these sadists so that other parents need not go through his trauma. He has nothing to gain personally if SAITM is approved or not. Be a little kind to socially conscious people like Hilmy. Even though you have the same surname as hilmy, you don’t have an iota of social consensus as hilmy. Your religion teaches you to fight for justice wherever you see injustice. So, be a good Muslim if your religious teaching are to be followed,

          • 2
            0

            Farook, do you have a personal grudge against Hilmy. You seems to on take your own brother out of sheer jealousy. Why are you so jealous of Hilmy’s sons decision to study medicine. Did your son or daughter fail in their attempt to study medicine. You don’t even seem to know that the better international schools offer only London A/Ls

          • 1
            0

            Farook, do you mean, London exams are manipulated? You do not have any rights to state a student would fail 3 times if they sit local examples. In fact, there are instances A/L question papers leaked by tuition masters. If the UK qualifications are so bad and manipulated, how come the GMOA Doctors (albeit very few 100 tokens for 3hrs = 1.8 mins per patient) flock to get FRCS degree in UK. It appears, you only have conflict of interest. I believe every tax payer has a ‘PERSONAL INTEREST’ on this matter as we fund these goons and mafia who later become subset of global PHARMAFIA.

            • 0
              0

              You guys seem to have personal grudge against doctor and the money they makes. But still you somehow try to become a doctor or make your children doctors through unfair means. What is this? I don’t understand. Try to stay healthy and then you don’t need doctors.

    • 1
      1

      Hilmy
      You appear to be full of anger towards the medical education of Sri Lanka. You need to grasp the fact that Medicine is a noble vocation where you deal with life and death and where the best should be admitted. The only assessment one can do in Sri Lanka in absorbing candidates is to look at their academic achievements. In the West they also look at their participation in biomedical research, voluntary activities showing compassion, humility, work ethics etc. and also other talents such as art, music and writing. With all that, academic achievements carry the most weight.
      In a way it is unreasonable for you to rant against the medical education system, when you from the beginning knew London A/L was not accepted by our Universities. I am curious to know why you didn’t seek admission to SATIM. Did you know that SATIM was not accredited by the SLMC?
      Why do you/your son so much bent on doing Medicine? I am sure he is academically qualified to do many other professions and be living with you in Sri Lanka. You should not be upset about all this because if you look at millions of other Sri Lankan families, they are financially unable to send their offspring to International schools or to overseas Medical schools.

      • 2
        0

        Eusense, appreciate your question. First and foremost, the choice of education should be with the student, if he so wishes and is qualified to undertake it. My son, has far higher results than the SLMC requirements of the 2cs, 1s to enter a medical programme in Sri Lanka. If his London A/L is converted to the Z score, he would have been one in the top group. That is besides the point. He had better than the eligibility requirement, but is discriminated because he was fortunate to have better education in a more conducive environment.

        You talk about safety of patients and that is what is taught at every medical school. Why should you single out medicine only when engineering and other course are offered in Sri Lanka that could cost the lives of thousands in one go, if they blunder. Imagine an engineer building a 100 storied building that would collapse, due to design failure or a railway line that would falter. Will that be acceptable? So, I do not want to single out medical education for proper standards to be maintained. All our educational programmes need to have proper standards.

        I did a lot of research on the SAITM degree before we decided to send our son abroad and were fully satisfied with the academic part. Moreover, we live 10 minutes away from SAITM and we could have guided and supported our son through his touch medical education of 5 years. I have over 20 medical professionals in my family and know the challenges of medical education. We could not discourage our sons ambition of becoming a doctor, even though I have reservations of the medical mafia. We sincerely hope that our son would practice better ethical medicine. We chose to send him abroad only because we didn’t him to want to go through the harassment of these hooligans and vultures from the GMOA, who are hell bent on causing mental trauma to the SAITM undergradudates. I had no doubt that justice would prevail for the SAITM degree if there was no political interference, but the mental state of a student needs to prevail in a stressful educational field, so that is the only reason we chose to send him abroad. I do hope that you are able to guide your children better, but as far as we are concerned, we let him choose the profession he wanted to peruse.

      • 1
        0

        Why don’t you question as to how Carlo Fonseka, an octogenarian could sit and make decissions on the future of the health sector. Is he not senile?

        • 0
          0

          How can a man of 84 years and a communist support a capitalistic enterprise based education. Until and unless Carlo Fonseka is removed or moves out of his position at SLMC, there will be chios. Just look how the students from foreign universities are harassed by these same GMOA guys who conduct ERPM classes.

    • 0
      0

      Hilmy Ahamed

      RE: GMOA Mafia

      It is about competition and hegemony

      Who blundered? From 2009…
      By Prof. D. A. Goonasekera
      Acting Dean Faculty of Allied Health Sciences,University of Peradeniya

      http://www.island.lk/2009/03/16/opinion4.html

  • 2
    1

    Contempt of court charges should be served on the GMOA office bears and the student unions that are protesting the court of appeal judgment on the SAITM issue. There is also a necessity to audit the finances of GMOA to establish the lobbying that has been going on during the last 14 to 20 years. Foreign travels sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies needs to be investigated, corruption charges established and persecuted. Then only will our health service improve.

  • 2
    1

    Hilmy Ahamed: I read through your main article trying to understand and learn something connected with this SAITM; SLMC and the Judgement of the Courts. But your subsequent comments in reply to other comments made me to distance myself from you as a “Professional” who is keen to discuss the issues in an enlightened manner. Your sons debacle in getting a “Medical Degree” (as described in above comment) and your own admission viz ” YES I have a conflict of interest” made me to distance from your further and further. Since you captioned your article as “Hora Upadi Kade”, I got interested to know the history of this Institution. On going through the records, I totally agree with the term you used viz. “Hora Upadi Kade”. It changed it’s name thrice and did not go through and comply with and conform to required stipulations as required by the Statutory Body established to administer the Medical Studies in Sri Lanka. The Government too, for some unknown reasons neglected their Public Duty in making this Institution a “Recognized” body to produce Medical Doctors. The worst scenario was; I came across three “Public Announcements” published in print media in Sri Lanka, by the SLMC cautioning the Public NOT TO ENROLL with this Institution for any “Medical Studies”. It was rather strange to find that at no stage this Institution confronted the SLMC on that PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT and even why it did not sue for damages. Then again, I came across a case records filed by an affected parent who actually sued this Institution for collecting fees and enrolling students for “Illegal” studies. So from those records and many more subsequent developments also in records, it was more than enough for me to conclude and agree with your term of “Hora Upadi Kade”. You are invited to STUDY those records and come to conclusions without being an “Affected Party” and submit to us a Professional Opinion.

    Coming back to this matter of “Medical Studies” and producing “Medical Practitioners”, it must be agreed that such STUDIES and PROFESSIONS have to be properly conducted and administered; as those deal directly with Peoples’ Health. Whether such studies and ultimate production of practitioners are conducted and produced by a Public (Government) or a Private Institution is and should not be the debate. The debate must be based on one and the only fact of the “QUALITY” and the “STANDARD” of education imparted and the final end PRODUCT. To oversee that there is an established “Statutory Body” called SLMC in Sri Lanka and that is how it is done world over. It has been functioning for long, long years without any contravention, until your “Hora Upadi Kade” came into being. That MUST be recognized by all concerned and the present situation has to be debated in that context only. In this instance, the Government being the sole authority in Policy Making must make a firm decision on the proper way to establish these “Private Institutions” and also most importantly to oversee those Institutions function and provide the required services according to laid down procedures. Mr.Hilmy, why don’t you address those issues, rather than looking at this problem from your own “Conflict of Interests” angle.

    • 1
      0

      Douglas, I do not have any conflict of interest now, as my son has gone abroad for his medical education and will not in anyway personally benefit from the outcome of these discussions and processes. I am writing and fighting for future children and their parents who would want to have their children at home and support their education. 17 or 18 years of age is not the time for any student to go to a foreign land, make a home and study a very tough course like medicine. So, when every other degree programme is offered by thousands of institutions in Sri Lanka, why not a medical degree programme where large investment have been made on the infrastructure including a 1002 bed teaching hospital and medical facilities are provided at concessionary rates. If there are shortcomings, it is the responsibility of the government to support the institution to improve. After all they are producing professionals at no cost to the government or taxpayers.

      So let me be very clear, I did a lot of research into the SAITM degree and was satisfied with the academic part, but had to choose to send my son abroad because of the threats by this mafia. Now, that he is gone, I have no reason to benefit from any, but I am doing this battle only to ensure that parents like me should not face the same trauma as us in the future. Most of the children who go abroad do not return to practice medicine because of the harassment they face from the GMOA and these jealous hooligans.

    • 1
      0

      Douglas, I do not have any conflict of interest now, as my son has gone abroad for his medical education and will not in anyway personally benefit from the outcome of these discussions and processes. I am writing and fighting for future children and their parents who would want to have their children at home and support their education. 17 or 18 years of age is not the time for any student to go to a foreign land, make a home and study a very tough course like medicine. So, when every other degree programme is offered by thousands of institutions in Sri Lanka, why not a medical degree programme where large investment have been made on the infrastructure including a 1002 bed teaching hospital and medical facilities are provided at concessionary rates. If there are shortcomings, it is the responsibility of the government to support the institution to improve. After all they are producing professionals at no cost to the government or taxpayers.

      So let me be very clear, I did a lot of research into the SAITM degree and was satisfied with the academic part, but had to choose to send my son abroad because of the threats by this mafia. Now, that he is gone, I have no reason to benefit from any, but I am doing this battle only to ensure that parents like me should not face the same trauma as us in the future. Most of the children who go abroad do not return to practice medicine because of the harassment they face from the GMOA and these jealous hooligans.

  • 0
    0

    There should be foreign or local investment to
    educate people to live a healthy life so that
    you depend on less pharmaceuticals and less
    hospitals . Why planning more patients and more
    medicos ? Better health is easy with nutritious
    and less foods rather than fat bellies everywhere
    these days , especially in the parliament ! A
    good place to start . Healthy lifestyle is a MUST
    for every young and old these days because, we
    now eat more pesticide than never before and more
    junk than never before in the name of fashion and
    ease ! More parties more junks and ultimately more
    hospitals . Think and think again ! You will need
    less of SAITM types and GMOAs .

  • 0
    0

    Hilmy Ahamed: Thank you for the response. On that “conflict of interest” – I picked it up from your own admission made in the reply comment you made. Anyway, that let be. I am pleased that you are fighting for the welfare of the children of Sri Lanka. Your research has given you an insight into the good quality of the academic part of the Medical Degree of SAITM. Is that the only requirement to be a good Medical Practitioner? Perhaps with your family background of so many medical personnel (revealed in one of your comments), you would agree, that the “Clinical training and expertise” is the most required and essential to be a proper Medical Practitioner. For this purpose, you say, SAITM has build a hospital of 1002 beds in Malabe. True. But do you know, how many patients are receiving treatment there and for what type of ailments. You should know, that “Clinical Training” is composed of varying subject matters that exposes the budding Medical Practitioners to a whole host of related health problems and decision making on what needs to be done to safeguard a life. That is what is most essential to become a Medical Practitioner. As at present this SAITM does not provide that “Clinical Training” adequately. That is a fact. So fight for it and it is worth the cause. As regards this SAITM being a “Hora Upadi Kade”, let us discuss it at some other time, because I am in the process of collecting its “Financial” matters. Thank you again.

    • 1
      0

      Agree with you Douglas on the clinical training part, and I did speak to Carlo Fonseka long before the court decision on this matter. I also mentioned this in my article and agree that it is a major flaw in the SAITM programme. This does not mean that SAITM did not address this need – They built a beautiful 1002 bed hospital and medical support was provided on concessionary terms. The medical mafia prevented the growth of it, because NFTH would not succumb to the fleecing of the patients. Dr Neville Fernando on many occasions agreed for the government to take over the hospital. The government should have assisted in this matter using the state hospitals. The clinical training issue was resolved through a court order. SAITM students were provided clinical training at Homagama, Kaduwela and Avissawela hospitals. The shylocks from GMOA did everything to prevent it. The mistake SAITM made was that they did not file contempt of court charges on the GMOA. No trade union action can be taken on a court order.

      I do not deny that SAITM is a commercial enterprise. Just like all the foreign fee levying universities around the world, SAITM too charges for their service. The advantage for the country and its citizens is that the country would save valuable foreign exchange and the students could learn in their own country, culture and environment. At least, the parents will have the consolation of seeing and monitoring their children as often as necessary. In fact, when I was talking to some at SLMC about universities, they were even recommending universities in China where the total cost of tuition was a mere 3 million for the 5 year period. Their argument was that as these universities have been approved by them, we do not send our children to expensive universities. Even the SAITM fee is more than double that, even after concessions and scholarships they offer. Upon me questioning as to how many would pass the ERPM exam from these universities, they were speechless. So, basically, they know very well that they have approved substandard universities. Thank god I didn’t chose those for my child.

  • 1
    0

    I hear many times our politicians speaking from their rear end the need for SAITM to sit the ERPM exams. They dont seem to understand that the ERPM is an exam about local conditions and that SAITM students are exposed to these

  • 0
    0

    All medical students are trained in many hospitals to cover Medicine, Surgery, Gynae, Obstetrics, Paediatrics, Mental Health, Forensic, Community Medicine and field work. SAITM is trained in seven different places, its own teaching hospital being one of them. It must be a joke to call that substandard, with more professors and senior lecturers and Consultants than most others.

    • 2
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      Thats exactly my point too. If you look at even Jaffna, SAITM cannot be matched

    • 0
      0

      Since SAITM is already trained in Forensic and Community Medicine, its useless to dump the ERPM(Act 16) on them, which exam is meant for foreign qualified MBBS not trained about the local scene. SAITM pays govt. Rs.5000/- for each student to be ERPM trained at Avissawala Hospital and Kaduwala MOH which was through Spreme Court. To prove their standard, they should be given the Common MCQ Paper of local state universities MBBS, which is corrected by computer, without bias, examiner error and fair.

  • 1
    0

    I have my daughter at SAITM and I have had discussions with many medical professionals who say SAITM is better than most foreign degree awarding universities. So, why is the GMOA hell bent on destroying this local initiative. I can understand if the JVP opposes a foreign investment, but this is all a local initiative

    • 0
      0

      Saitmfan

      “I have my daughter at SAITM and I have had discussions with many medical professionals who say SAITM is better than most foreign degree awarding universities. So, why is the GMOA hell bent on destroying this local initiative.”

      Competition, Competition, and Competition!

  • 0
    0

    Hilmy Ahamed is a bold journalist and he has taken on the high and mighty to deliver social justice. I pray that he doesn’t fall sick as these medical mafia will not treat him. I am sure he will get attention in private medical care where the bucks will speak on his favour. These same vultures will fall at his feet when he draws his cheque book out

  • 0
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    I call upon the President and Prime minister to set up a committee to set standards, provide clinical training support and staff to SAITM and any other medical campus that would be set up. I feel that there is capacity for at least 4 more medical universities to be set up. Imagine the revenue in foreign currency we could generate from overseas students? Check what Malaysia has achieved.

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    If GMOA and student unions don’t want private medical education, the government should also consider denying these people access to private practice. No one in government service should be allowed to do private practice, both as consultants and as junior doctors in dispensaries. If they agree, the government should nationalise all private education institutions including SAIYTM

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    Mr. Hilmy: Thank you. I will make an end to this debate by making my observation simple and concise. This SAITM and the whole “Policy” of producing Medical Practitioners to the country has been BUNGLED and MUDDLED by our own Representatives in the Legislature, in whose hands we entrusted that “Responsibility”. In the end we have been saddled with an “Unwanted” child. All our REPRESENTATIVES from the start who handled this matter have LET US DOWN very badly and the irony is that “THEY” continue to do so without finding a solution.

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    On the same line, i would like to bring to the attention about the doctors who come running from the government hospitals to ‘tick-mark’ the patients waiting at the private hospitals. Every time i visited a doctor during my vacation in SL, they hardly spend 5 minutes with a patient (most of the time). Its easy money for them. Whereas the Indian doctors i visit regularly spend time and explain the reason behind prescribing each and every medicine and also entertain related questions the patient is having.

    I am not painting everyone from the same brush but sadly this is the case in SL.

    The government should correct the education “system” in SL, where they allow private education in accountancy and engineering but not in medicine.

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    Eusense: Another comment on “When we have so many A/L students with excellent qualifying marks how can we give slots to Arts graduates, gardners etc.?”

    About 30 years ago,I had to take my car to garage at Colpetty. I was in a hurry, the car was taken in hand.All of a sudden another car was brought and the owner was making a fuss to get his car attended to fast. He claimed that he was a doctor.I was angry, but I did not want to create a fuss but started a conversation with him.He identified himself as a lecturer at Colombo M/Faculty in Pharmacology.During the conversation I mentioned what I was doing and he inquired about the solvents I use. When I mentioned one item, he hit his forehead with his hand and commented that that particular item was a poison.My advise to was to go back home and refer to the his Pharmacopea where he will find that that particular item is non poisonous and I believe that it is used as carrier ( solvent) for Vit B.

    Another incident. the Perseniya a Chaitya was opened when i was at the Campus.When the Chief guest was about to do his job, somebody announced over the public address system that the Chief guest had found a “DHATHU” in his hand when he stretched it.Many comments were made which were rude by my colleagues who were with me.We do not believe in Magic.

    Last year.I read in the DIVAYINA paper an article written by a Surgeon. he claimed that he was the President of the Buddhist Society at the Peradeniya Campus when the Chaitya was opened and when the Bera (TOM Toms) beating started a woman who was close to him got into a trance and produced the Relic that was entombed.

    You and I can understand the source of the Relic, but the fib was written by a Surgeon – another from the Specialist cadre.

    Recently a Buddhist priest “opened” a temple of his own.I was passing the place when the relics were entombed.There were two or three medical doctors at that ceremony. Did any of those Doctors question as to how the RELIC was produced.There new PANSALAS being opened by the week all over this country. From where do they produce the relics that the laymen worship? Is there a RELIC factory close by?

    This is type of hoodwinking on which the GMOA is fighting this case with.

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    GMOA hood winking is well known. But now the SLMC Deans are pushing to stop SAITM admissions. Looks daft and meaningless. That means job agencies can send these students abroad and the Deans get their share. SAITM left in limbo and will have to automatically close. Twisted.

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    The presidents announcement of a committee means that the President is interfering in a appeal court judgment. The case was on for at least three years now and he interferes after the judgement. Under the 19th amendment, he can be persecuted and its time contempt charges are filed against him, the GMOA and the students unions

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    Why can’t SAITM file contempt charges against the President for appointing a committee after the court of appeal decision for provisional registration. If any exam is introduced to SAITM students, then it must be made compulsory to all state universities. Then we can see how these protesters but their tail into their asses and run, At least 60% of them wouldn’t pass ERPM. Lets see whether they will accept that challenge, so that the standards they demand could be maintained

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    This stupid head of state does not know diplomacy or rule of law. He has suddenly become chairman of mediatory boards. Every Time a decision is made by the government or judiciary, he takes it upon himself to reverse those decisions like a village chieftain. Sri Lanka is becoming a joke because of this joker

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    If the GMOA and the State University Medical students do not want private medical education, we need to agitate against private medical practice against all doctors in government hospitals including junior doctors who have their own dispensaries

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      These dispensers kill patients which no one knows or hears about. They unnecessarily drug patients endlessly to suit big Farma. Tentacles.

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    The Medical Deans with ‘Suggestions’ are real irresponsible jokers, who seem to have lost their mental capacity. They received court verdict direction as part of being SLMC to register SAITM doctors for internship training. Instead of accountability for law and order they dictate, rejecting govt. ministerial overseeing, and under whom they function. Behave like TU GMOA, with no valuable contribution. The SLMC must include some excellent lawyers as well to bring balance. Dean’s children sit ERPM and they want closure of SAITM so that job agencies can send all abroad.

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