The Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo has always been in the forefront of scientific research on parasitic diseases of medical importance. Leishmaniasis is one of the newly established diseases in Sri Lanka and the Department of Parasitology is very actively involved in research studies related to leishmaniasis. The Department of Parasitology commenced its pioneering work on leishmaniasis in 2001 with the onset of the local outbreak. A clinic for management of leishmaniasis patients was initiated weekly in a small patient handling room in this department to facilitate patient care.
Initial activities included clinical examination and laboratory confirmation of diagnosis of leishmaniasis in patients.The clinic has now expanded and is currently the Centre for Training, Research & Diagnosis of Leishmaniasis and it is the first diagnostic laboratory in the country offering in-vitro culturing, PCR and serological assays that are offered to patients with leishmaniasis. All the services are provided free of charge to the patients. Over 3000 patients referred from all nine provinces of Sri Lanka have been clinically evaluated and investigated so far in this centre enabling confirmation of diagnosis prior to treatment.
Training programmes on leishmaniasis are offered to undergraduate and post graduate students and paramedical personnel. These programmes are also offered to personnel from various institutions such as Ministry of Health Care & Nutrition & other universities.Many internal as well as external research students are currently undergoing their PhD training at the centre.