The essence of our Primary Healthcare Centre is to provide a first point of contact in the healthcare system for patients and allow for disease prevention and illness follow up to take place. In addition, we thrive to provide a "five-star doctor" service involving personalized and family care which is comprehensive and enables coordination between other levels of healthcare. We are focused on confronting important and common major illnesses like cancer, obesity, smoking related illnesses, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, childhood illnesses, infection, allergies and palliative care.
Primary health care is delivered mainly by general practitioners and their practice teams, and provide over 60% of all patient interaction in the health system. There is compelling evidence that the forte of the primary health care system in a region or nation correlates to the health status of that population. Hence considering these factors along with the rise of non-communicable and regular communicable diseases, research in primary care is of utmost importance to provide exceptional clinical (including population-based) care, to improve the health system and policies, as well as for educational purposes of the next generation of primary care professionals.
The primary objective of the National research centre in primary care is to enhance the research and capacities of the basic, clinical, public health and other connected scientists in University of Sri Jayewardenepura, by carrying out relevant and highly scientific research on infections, non-communicable diseases and malignancies that would have a direct impact in providing solutions to the major health issues in Sri Lanka as well as globally.
Secondary objectives are to facilitate collaborative studies among University of Sri Jayewardenepura scientific community and attract other researchers to primary care research in their specialties and bring a wealth of experience to their work.
The World Health Organization defines Palliative Care as "Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual."
Dr. Chamath Fernando, the lead in Palliative Medicine education in the Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura is also involved with seeing palliative patients in the community, through home visits as well as through the 'Palliative Care Clinic' conducted at the National Cancer Institute Maharagama (Apeksha Hospital) which he does on a voluntary basis.
As doctors who are essentially working in intimate liaison with the community, the Primary Care physicians play a pivotal role in palliation of their patients. Hence the discipline of Palliative Medicine forms an integral portion in Primary Care. Owing to the inherently inter-disciplinary nature of Palliative medicine, the research involving the discipline also encompasses collaborations with healthcare professionals (e.g. doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists) and significant components in the community that include social workers, religious priests etc.
As Palliative Medicine/ Care is a generalist field, the spectrum of research topics also vary quite significantly. It can range from clinical aspects of clinical management of physical symptoms to sociocultural concerns to psycho-spiritual aspects of patient care.
Palliative Care is an emerging clinical speciality in Sri Lanka which has immense room for improvement from its current primitive stage. We invite national and international colleagues of varying professional backgrounds (not limited to clinicians) to collaborate with us in expanding the current evidence base on the discipline globally.