Department of Community Medicine – Services

Laboratory Services

The laboratory of this department is equipped to conduct basic clinical investigations and occupational hygiene investigations for environmental monitoring. These facilities are used by undergraduates during their community/family attachment programme and during their community stream research projects. Demonstrations and practicals are conducted for Postgraduate students following the course unit in occupational health at the MSs Community Medicine Programme and for participants following extension programmes in health and safety   conducted by the department. The facilities are also been used in research conducted by staff of this department and by students reading for postgraduate degree programmes.

The laboratory was refurbished to expand its existing services to field teaching area being the MOH area, Pita Kotte. The refurbishment was made possible through funds made available by the ‘Nirogi Lanka’ project of the SLMA. Blood sugar and serum cholesterol estimations are carried out on an autoanalzer for mothers attending antenatal and postnatal clinics and on those attending the elderly clinics in the Pita Kotta MOH areas. These investigations are carried out by two competent senior technical officers. Lung function measurements are also conduced on patients referred by the UMO or by the NHSL. Occupational hygiene investigations such as assessment of the thermal environment, light intensity, personal exposure to dust could also be carried out. The department encourages collaborative research with other universities and the industry. A service could also be provided to the industry in conducting the above occupational hygiene investigations.

University Community Health Project – Kotte

The University Community Health Project area is one of the 337 Health Units in Sri Lanka.  It comprises of four Public Health Inspector areas namely, Ethul Kotte, Pita Kotte, Mirihana and Udahamulla. Ethul Kotte and Pita Kotte are electoral divisions of the Sri Jayawardenapura – Kotte Municipal Council, while the two areas Mirihana and Udahamulla are electoral divisions of the Maharagma Municipal Council. Kotte health project area consist of an urban and suburban communities. (Figure 1).

Since 1952, the Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Colombo has been responsible for providing community health services for the people of the Ethul Kotte and Pita Kotte PHI areas. On the 1st of February 1974, the University Community Health Project (UCHP) was established with the addition of two more PHI areas, viz. Mirihana and Udahamulla.  Since then, this project area has functioned as a separate health unit.

The office of the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) is situated at Pita Kotte, approximately six kilometers from the Faculty of Medicine,Colombo.

  • To provide comprehensive health care services to the population of the area in keeping with the national health policies.
  • To be a centre for field teaching and training in Community Medicine for medical undergraduates, postgraduates and para-medical personnel, with emphasis on providing learning experiences in the multi-disciplinary approach to the practice of Community Medicine.
  • To be an “Experimental area” where research into new methods of administration, management, provision of health care, epidemiological and intervention research can be undertaken, so as to develop models of comprehensive health care.
  • To be a “Field Laboratory” for all departments of the Faculty of Medicine in Colombo and the Department of Health Services.

This area is situated in such a way, where several major hospitals with all speciality services can be easily reachable including, National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo South Teaching Hospital, De Soysa and Caslte street Maternity Hospitals, Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital, Sri Jayawardanapura Hospital and the Ayurvedis Hospital. There are ten registered General Practitioners in the area and a Dispensary at Angampitiya conducted by the Sri Jayawardanapura Municipal Council.

Other identified community resources in the area are ‘Sevana’ home for physically handicapped children at Pita Kotte, Children’s home for the mentally handicapped at Madiwela, ‘Vajira’ children’s home at Pagoda Road, ‘Dayamina’ day care centre for mentally handicapped, ‘St Anne’s’ day care centre at Epitamulla, ‘Sanhinda’ Elder’s home at Mirihana and ‘St. Vincent De Paul’ friendship home for elders at Madiwela.

The professor of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Colombo, serves as the Chief Medical Officer of Health of the area, on an honorary basis. The Medical Officer/s of Health are officials of the Department of Health Services and are responsible to the Director General of Health Services through the Provincial Director of Health Services (Western Province) and the Deputy Provincial Director of Health Serves, Colombo for carrying out the community health services in the area.

Staff members comprising the Health Team

  • Chief Medical Officer of Health – Professor of the Department of Community Medicine
  • Medical Officers of Health, attached to the Department of Health Services
  • Academic staff of the Department of Community Medicine and post graduate trainees
  • Four Public Health Inspectors (PHI)
  • Public Health Nursing Sister (PHNS)
  • One Supervising Public Health Inspector (SPHI)
  • One Supervising Public Health Midwife (SPHM)
  • Registered Medical Officer
  • One senior instructor in social work attached to the Department of Community Medicine
  • Two medical laboratory technologists attached to the Department of Community Medicine
  • One laboratory attendant attached to the Department of Community Medicine
  • One dental surgeon, Four dental Therapist  and two assistants
  • One entomological assistant and two labourers
  • One clerk
  • Twelve PHMM appointed by the Department of Health Services
  • One programme assistant
  • MOH office and the Pita Kotte Health Care Centre is situated in a building at Baddegama Road, Pita Kotte.
  • Heath care centres conducted at Mirihana, Madiwela and Thalapathpitiya.
  • A jeep has been made available to the Kotte UHCP area by the Ministry of Health, Western Province for transport.
  • All funding for drugs, stationary and equipment is obtained from the Ministry of Health.

Main services provided are the maternal health services provided at ante- natal clinics, family planning services, child welfare services, distribution of Thriposha, conducting well women clinics, school health services including dental health, immunization, conducting dental clinics, control of communicationable diseases, improving environmental sanitation, provision of recommendations for licensing trades and social work.

Other than these, training programmes for medical undergraduates and postgraduates are also carried out.

Monthly conferences were held at the Pita Kotte Health Centre, attended by the field health staff and the staff of the Department of Community Medicine and were chaired by the MOH.

Random field surveys have been carried out in the Community Health Project area since 1992 and have proved to be a useful method for monitoring and evaluating the field health services. These are carried out once a month prior to the monthly conference.

Opportunities available to elective students to gain experience in the provision of primary health care to the community. Research opportunities are also available through the guidance of the department of Community Medicine.