Supply of medical equipment to Anuradhapura Hospital – Part 1

During his last visit to Sri Lanka, APSL President, Mr. Mervyn Silva, visited Anuradhapura Hospital on 25th August and met with Dr. Rajeewa Dassanayake, his medical colleagues and nursing staff.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

The purpose of this visit was to:

  • hand over a multifunctional patient monitoring machine bought with the funds raised during APSL 10th Anniversary event, which was gratefully received,
  • learn more about the work going on with increasing numbers of patients with kidney disease, and
  • find out how APSL may be of help in the future.

The hospital is faced with the serious situation of patients with kidney disease, presenting in ever increasing numbers. There are theories as to cause/s, but as yet no definite reasons have been found.It is possible that there are multifactual causes, rather than one main cause, making detection difficult. It appears that more females present in the early stages, and more males in the later stages of the disease.

A study has shown a 22% infection in Badulla, 18% in Polonnaruwa and 15% in Anuradhapura.

The epidemic appears to be more prevelant in low income families many with poor hygiene facilities and often social problems.  The average household income among the dialysis patients was found to be Rs14,700 per month. Patients who are diagnosed to have reached advanced stages of kidney disease receive an allowance of Rs.500 per month from the government.   The hospital has 4,000 registered patients and 4 satellite centres, staffed by junior doctors. The treatments carried out includes assessment in clinics, dialysis to clean the blood, and kidney transplants with follow up care. All treatment is free but the biggest cost to patients is in travelling to the hospital or clinics, which could be as much as half a households income.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

The first floor at the CKD Unit  is the hemo-dialysis ward, the second floor has separate male and female inpatient wards, and the fourth floor  is the peritoneal dialysis ward ( through the stomach). The transplant unit can treat up to 1 patient every 2 weeks with kidneys coming mainly from family members, some from monks for altruistic reasons and some from deceased people.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

According to Dr Rajeewa, one of the main problems for the hospital is facing is the low staffing levels. At the time of the visit, there were 6 doctors doing the work of an ideal number of 18, and therefore having to work extremely long hours, often doing a weeks work within one day! Also nursing staff numbers are low, ideally more trained nursing staff are needed. In spite of these difficulties, to their credit, amazing work is continually carried out, with only one complaint in 3 years!!!

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

Because of the large numbers of patients attending the clinic, often as high as 130 – 140 per session, a more effective management system is needed, where  information and possibly educational input is clearly and effectively displayed, so the whole assessment area can operate more efficiently and smoothly and increase the level of patient care that all staff are working so hard to achieve.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

The mulit functional monitoring machine donated during this visit was purchased with the funds raised at the APSL’s 10th anniversary dinner dance.  They will enable the staff to monitor patients on the wards more accurately.

In addition to this monitoring machine, Dr Rajeewa and team have requested a syringe pump and an infusion pump to help them administer drugs more accurately to the transplant patients.  They also asked for five digital blood pressure monitors that would help them measure patients’ blood pressure faster and more accurately. Being more portable devices they would also come in handy during the outreach screening programmes.  Mr Silva promised to send these items through the next APSL representative to visit Sri Lanka.  [Arrangements were being made to supply these items using the remaining funds at the time of writing this report.] 

As with all hospitals, there is an ongoing battle with infection and much work needs to be done in trying to educate and change peoples attitudes towards standards of hygiene. However, during the visit, the hospital appeared very clean, all credit to the wonderfully hard working staff.

Mr. Silva thanked  Dr. Rajeewa and staff for their warm welcome, for giving up their valuable time to show them around the hospital and for the detailed level of information which was shared.

Report by:

Mervyn Silva,

APSL President,

10 Sept 2014

Read Report Part 2

APSL Scholarship Scheme Launch

During the 10th anniversary celebrations held in June 2014, APSL announced its intention to establish a scholarship scheme to support bright but needy school children in Sri Lanka. Making that noble intention a reality the APSL Scholarship Scheme was launched on Saturday the 25th October, at the Grange City Hotel, London attended by APSL members, their families and well-wishers.

View scholarship-launch-photos

The proceedings started with the APSL president Mr Mervyn Silva welcoming the guests and giving an overview of the events leading up to the launch. The speaker of the day, was Professor Terrence Fernando, Director, THINKlab, Salford University who initiated the scholarship scheme.  He started his presentation by sharing his own life story with the audience. He referred to the influence others had on his formative years, such as his school experiences, teachers and friends. In explaining his own motivation to study, he described the impact he had in growing up in a family of seven children, the support and encouragement he received from his family, especially from his father. Together with what he described as ‘luck’, he has been able to reach his full potential and pursue a very successful career.

Prof. Fernando’s aim is to establish a vehicle for providing scholarships to gifted children from low income families in Sri Lanka.  It is based on his childhood experience in growing up in a low income family with friends from similar backgrounds.  The saying ‘Much is expected to whom much is given’ is what is motivating him to give something back to his home country of Sri Lanka, in the form of the scholarships. .

He believes that there are many Sri Lankans who have gone through a similar experience like himself and understands the need for supporting children who have the potential to become future leaders and contribute to the society with their knowledge and skills.  He would like to see it being developed into a sustainable scheme so that it can continue to grow over time by attracting funds from like-minded individuals. He hopes the scholarship scheme will offer others like him in the UK and elsewhere the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children to reach their full potential through education.

APSLs vision is a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka, where Sri Lankans from across the world who have realised their true potential, help the future generations in turn help others to realise full potential.  Prof. Fernando identified with this vision and felt as a UK registered Charity with considerable experience and expertise in delivering relief and development aid, APSL was the right partner to work with in realising his vision. He remarked that this was the start of the journey and concluded by presenting APSL president with a cheque for £1000 as the initial sum to get the scheme started.

Five children had been selected with help from Prof. Fernando’s sister-in-law for the award of scholarships at the launch. The five children, two boys and three girls, and their families who were presented with a letter of confirmation of the support they will receive. They joined the proceedings from Sri Lanka over a Skype link and a very fruitful interaction between them and the audience took place.

On closure of the Skype call, scholarship committee member Ms. Buddhini Liyanage presented how the scheme would work in practice, monthly and yearly grant amounts and how individuals could support the scheme. To support her presentation a flyer was circulated among the audience, giving a basic introduction to the scheme.

Mervyn Silva then opened the floor to discussion and questions, and some very useful comments were made, with some promising avenues for sponsorship and a pledge to fund a child from one of the attendees.

The meeting ended with an air of excitement at the potential for creating wonderful opportunities by this scheme. APSL immediate past president Mr. Rohan de Alwis gave the vote of thanks.

A special thanks to the members of the scholarship committee: Mr. Mohan Siriwardena, Ms. Buddhini Liyanage, Mr. Thushara Madurasighe, Mr. Suraj Wijendra, Mr. Leslie Dep and Mr. Rohan de Alwis and General Secretary Dr. Mahesh de Silva for all their hard work leading up to the launch.

The second half of the event was a seminar on changes to UK pension regulations and the opportunities this offered.  This delivered by Helen Morris, Senior Financial Advisor, Holborn Assets – the sponsor of the day,  and Laurence Lancaster, Group Tax Counsel,  The Sovereign Group. Among other things it covered topics such as:

  • What budget changes are in April 2015 & how they can affect UK schemes
  • What are HMRC Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme
  • How pension Benefits are paid tax free
  • How 100% of the pension asset passed to your beneficiaries
  • Protection from further changes to UK pension legislation
  • IHT Liabilities

Those present raised many pertinent questions, at the end of the presentations, Mr Gihantha Jayasinghe thanked the speakers on behalf of the APSL.

Report by: Mervyn Silva, 12 November 2014

APSL 10th Anniversary Celebrations Report

APSL celebrated its 10th Anniversary in grand style with a Symposium followed by a Dinner Dance held at the Grange City Hotel, Tower Hill, London on 21st June 2014.

Celebrating the tenth anniversary in the United Kingdom for a Sri Lankan Association is a very significant event and therefore this year the APSL executive committee decided to allocate all the proceedings from this event to a selected project for alleviating the Chronic Kidney Disease in Sri Lanka.

Both events were well attended by the members, their families and well wishers.

The occasion was graced by the presence of Her Excellency Mrs Kshenuka Senewiratne, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs in Sri Lanka (a former Sri Lanka High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom and a past Patron of APSL) and His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis, the current High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom and the current Patron of the association.

Symposium – Achievements Sky is the Limit

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Mr Mervyn Silva (President, APSL) welcomed the attendees and moderated the Symposium with Dr Mahesh de Silva (General Secretary, APSL).

The Symposium  was addressed by the following three eminent Sri Lankan professionals who have reached extraordinary heights in their careers.

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Professor Terrance Fernando – Director of THINK lab at the University of Salford
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Professor Mrs. Shervanthi Homer-Vanniasinkam – Consultant Vascular Surgeon, The General Infirmary, Leeds, Honorary Professor, Division of Surgery and International Services, University of London

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Professor Chnadra Wickramasinghe – An internationally renowned Astronomer and Honorary Professor and Director of the Buckingham centre of Astrology at the University of Buckingham.

In line with the theme of the Symposium the speakers gave highly inspirational accounts of how they were able to achieve such heights in their respective disciplines and the work they are currently engaged in their respective fields.

The interactive Q&A session at the end of the presentations gave the audience an opportunity to ask several questions in relation to their speeches.

During the Symposium the following APSL project Leaders also gave presentations on their respective projects outlining the work done so far and what is planned in the future.

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Mr. Rohan de Alwis (Immediate Past President) – “We Sri Lanka” . This project focuses on the reconciliation between the Sri Lankan communities living in the UK and Mr. De Alwis gave an account of the many events carried out under this project since the commencement of the project in 2010.

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Professor I M Dharmadasa (Past President) – “APSL Awards Scheme”. Professor Dharmadasa explained the two APSL Awards Scheme projects carried out in Sri Lanka by APSL to date; The essay competition on ‘How to develop Sri Lanka’ for school children and the competition for  proposals on the theme ‘converting green energy ideas into green products’.

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Mr Thushara Madurasinghe (Treasurer APSL) – “Eastern Values – Living in the UK”. Mr. Madurasinghe outlined the objectives of this project, where speeches targeted to second or third generation Sri Lankan children on how to lead a successful life in the UK while preserving the Sri Lankan culture and its values. He also gave a brief account of the events held to date mainly at the Birmingham Jethawana Buddhist Vihara.

Dinner Dance

The Symposium was followed by the highlight of the 10th Anniversary Celebrations, the grand Dinner Dance to the music of the most popular band in the UK – “Sky High”.

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The evening event began with the welcome address by APSL President Mr Mervyn Silva, who gave an account of the work carried out by APSL during the past ten years fulfilling the objectives of the association.

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Mr. Mervyn Silva’s speech was followed by the keynote address by Mrs Kshenuka Senewiratne. During her speech she thanked the APSL for inviting her for this important occasion and praised the work done by APSL over the past ten years for the benefit of the Sri Lankan community in the UK and also in Sri Lanka. She also mentioned APSL is unique in comparison to other organisations due to the diversity of the membership and the demonstration and maintenance of very high standard of professionalism in all its activities. She also gave an account of the development work undertaken by the current Sri Lankan government under the leadership of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse, President of Sri Lanka and requested APSL to join hands with the government’s development programmes in whatever way taking the country forward to the next decade as a developed country.

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His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis also addressed the gathering with his inimitable style and he also praised the good work done by the APSL for the benefit of the Sri Lankans here in the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka. Furthermore he expressed his continuous support to the association.

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Maintaining the theme of the event on supporting a project to alleviate the Chronic Disease in Sri Lanka, Mr Leslie Dep (Immediate Past General Secretary) gave a presentation on the current status of this disease, the projects which can help prevent this disease spreading further by providing purified water in the affected regions and how to support the people suffering from CKD and their families. CKD is a killer disease rapidly spreading among the farming communities in the districts of Anuradhapura, Medawachchiya and Vavuniya and requires immediate and effective assistance from everyone to completely eradicate this problem.

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A novel idea of a “Dutch Auction” conducted by Mr Ranjan Perera (a Vice President of APSL) was highly entertaining with the participation of everyone for raising significant amount of funds for the above cause. In addition, the raffle draw organised by Mrs Gayani Senaratne (Membership Secretary) was also successful raising  a record amount of funds.

The members and their guests were treated to a sumptuous authentic Sri Lankan dinner and special thanks go to “Sky High” for their beautiful lively music keeping everyone on toes until very late into the night.

  • APSL wishes to thank the following sponsors who supported our event by      providing adverts for the souvenir or raffle draw prices; Trico Freight, UK
  • Glen carriers, UK
  • Nandy and Co Solicitors, UK
  • Magna Arts, UK
  • Lewke Printers, UK
  • The Royal Calibre Group of Companies of Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom
  • John Keels Residential Projects (Private Ltd), Sri Lanka
  • Commercial Bank, Sri Lanka
  • Inforgrid Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, Sri Lanka

We also wish to thank the following local media for publicising the event adverts.

  • Newslanka
  • Sesatha Web
  • SL Events Web
  • Serendib News
  • Lanka Times Web

With great pleasure we wish to offer our sincere thanks and gratitude to all those who attended both events and especially to Her Excellency Mrs Kshenuka Senewiratne who came all the way from Sri Lanka accepting our invitation to attend this event showing her admiration and  appreciation to APSL.  We also wish to offer our thanks to His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis for attending both events and for supporting APSL events over the years.

Finally many thanks to the 10th Anniversary organising committee lead by Dr Andrew Nayagam (Past President) ,Dr Mahesh de Silva (General Secretary) and Mr. Thushara Madurasinghe (Treasurer) for all the hard work carried out with the fullest corporation and support form all other members of the executive committee to make this event a very big success in achieving the main objective of the event.

Article prepared by Leslie Dep (Immediate Past General Secretary)

View Sysposium photos

View Dinner Dance photos

Our chosen charity

APSL – 10th Anniversary Celebrations and Dinner Dance

The Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL) are celebrating their 10th anniversary  with a symposium showcasing eminent Sri Lankan speakers on 21st June 2014 at the Grange City Hotel, London. This will be followed by a Dinner Dance for the members, their families, friends and well-wishers.

We have decided to donate the proceeds from this event to combat Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) that has been affecting farmers in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.

Each day approximately 13 middle aged farmers in the NCP die from CKD, i.e. nearly 5,000 deaths a year. About 450 villages in the NCP are significantly affected. CKD related deaths have already surpassed loss of life in the 2004 Tsunami.


Consumption of polluted water, excessive use of subsidised fertiliser, pesticides and herbicides that saturate farm lands and reservoirs with chemicals – especially phosphates, inadequate use of protective gear resulting in exposure to toxic agrochemicals (via skin, inhalation, and food intake), runoff from exposed sloping land due to soil erosion exacerbated by sloppy farming practices, deforestation and climate change are some of the probable causes.

Providing clean and safe drinking water through proper water purification, raising farmer awareness to prevent environmental and soil pollution, reduce usage of subsidised fertilisers / agro chemicals, and ensuring safety precautions during their use, and developing an efficient, cost effective method to identify contaminated water are some of the remedies.

Buy your ticket today, or advertise your business in our 10th Anniversary Souvenir and/or APSL website, and help save farmer lives in Sri Lanka!

For more details, please contact Dr Mahesh De Silva, General Secretary via


About APSL

APSL was formed in 2004 with the aims of:

  •  fostering unity, co-operation and professionalism among the Sri Lankans in the UK,
  •  harnessing their talent for the development of Sri Lanka, and
  •  promoting cultural relations and projecting a positive image of Sri Lankans in the UK.

Having played an active role in relief, poverty alleviation and development projects in Sri Lanka from its inception; APSL became a registered UK charity in February 2012.

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UK Registered Charity No: 1145786