Colombo Medical Congress 2020

The Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo is on the eve of reaching a historic celebration of its 150th year in 2020. As part of this celebrations, the Faculty, together with its alumni association (CoMSAA) and the University and Colombo, organized the Medical Congress 2020, which was held from 12th to 15th February 2020 at the Faculty of Medicine.

Branded as the Colombo Medical Congress 2020 it was held under the theme “MEDICINE IN SRI LANKA: THE LEGACY AND THE FUTURE’ . The Inauguration held at Waters Edge had about 900 participants. The chief guest and keynote were delivered by distinguished alumni (Prof Sir Arulkuamran Sabaratnam and Professor Kamini Mendis respectively) with a special video-message by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus the Director-General of the World Health Organization (Geneva). A unique event was the felicitation of former VCs of the UoC, Deans of the Faculty of Medicine and Chair Professors. The ceremonies included the launch of the 150th year Anniversary Volume and a cultural interlude by our own students.

This was perhaps the largest ever medical congress in the country and had 303 lectures in 6 parallel sessions, 230 Abstracts (59 as oral presentations and 171 as posters) and 8 workshops. The topics ranged from clinical topics to genomics to planetary health to gender-based violence to medical humanities. There were two-panel discussions, a Grand Plenary that explored ‘Visions for the Future’ and ‘Engaging with Alumni’.

The Colombo Medical Banquet was organized by CoMSAA, the alumni association. Other unique features of the Congress were the adherence to ethical guidelines when mobilizing funds, a social program to reminisce on historical aspects of the buildings in the National Hospital and in the Faculty, providing healthy food options to participants, and minimum use of plastics

Several follow-up activities are planned, including the conduct of a regular annual Colombo Medical Congress, establishment of novel research themes (e.g. development of medical devices), and strengthening the role of alumni in developing the faculty (e.g. Research Fund and a Foundation to mobilize resources).