I am privileged to assume the role of President of the Sri Lanka College of Oncologists for the year 2024, and I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all the SLCO members for conferring upon me this honour as we celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Sri Lanka College of Oncologists.
I recognize that this position would not be mine without the dedication, and sacrifices made by past presidents and their teams I anticipate leaning on theiradvice and guidance throughout my tenure. I earnestly seek their continuoussupport as we fulfil our responsibilities towards our profession, healthcare services, and our nation.
This esteemed institution has played a pivotal role in advancing the standards of cancer care in Sri Lanka. Our goal for this year’s SLCO program of events is to pay a fitting tribute to this significant milestone.
Sri Lanka is currently grappling with a challenging period marked by economic repercussions from a sovereign debt default and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which have cast a shadow over the healthcare sector. In the face of funding shortages, a brain drain depleting our human resources, and diminished economic prospects, the oncology community in Sri Lanka, and indeed the entire healthcare system, has demonstrated extraordinary resilience. We acknowledge the ever-present threat of professional burnout under these circumstances. We need to explore novel approaches to sustaining and enhancing resilience. A prudent financial plan for the coming year will be presented at our first council meeting to address this issue.
Regardless of the obstacles we encounter, we owe it to our patients not to allow the high standards we have upheld thus far to diminish. Therefore, Excellence should remain our ultimate goal in all that we do. Excellence in an environment with limited resources can only be achieved through Innovation.
The SLCO has played a pioneering role in reorganizing the cancer care network in Sri Lanka, seeking to optimize the utilization of existing resources, streamline operations, minimize waste, and enhance the efficiency of our workforce through innovative thinking. Initiatives such as the development of a prioritized list of essential medications, the establishment of mechanisms to share radiotherapy facilities, the formulation of clinical practice guidelines, and the provision of telemedicine services in collaboration with telecommunication providers are just a few examples of our innovative endeavours. It is our hope that this year will serve as a launch pad to propel these innovations to the next level.
A primary focus during my term as SLCO president is enhancing the knowledge and skills of our members to elevate the quality of care we provide to our patients.
I view advocacy as a primary responsibility of the SLCO. As the SLCO, we regard raising public awareness about cancer as a crucial role and a responsibility towards the general public. We are strategizing to develop additional programs and campaigns focused on public awareness, and we will actively collaborate with both mass and social media to enhance the understanding of cancer among the public.
These are some of the plans my council and I have for the upcoming year, and we welcome new ideas from our members for consideration. I invite everyone to join hands with the SLCO to ensure we reach the lofty goals we have set for ourselves this year and ensure patients with cancer in Sri Lanka benefit from all our collaborative endeavours. While these activities may pose challenges, I am confident that with the support of all our members, we can achieve our objectives. Together, we can navigate these challenges and continue to provide the highest standard of care to those who depend on us.
I eagerly look forward to a fruitful year ahead.
Dr Umagowry Saravanamuttu MBBS, MD
The Sri Lanka College of Oncologists
The Sri Lanka College of Oncologists promotes excellence in cancer care through research and advocacy efforts to enhance quality, improve access to innovative therapies and ensure equity in cancer care in Sri Lanka.
(2003 – 2005)
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(2010 – 2011)
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