I would like to thank the members of the Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists for electing me and my team to serve the College for the year 2016/2017.
What have we in store for this year? We have some ongoing, ambitious projects that have been started by previous Presidents that need to be sustained and continued. Some are national projects such as the National Action Plan for combating antimicrobial resistance coordinated by the Antimicrobial Resistance Core group of the College which is drafting a national policy in this area for the whole country and the Laboratory information management system initiative which hopes to design a common IT platform for all the laboratories in the state sector. One of our members is formulating recommendations to improve microscopy services in TB laboratories. A committee drawing up guidelines for treatment and prophylaxis of patients undergoing stem cell and solid organ transplants started work last week while another group is working with the Allergy and Immunology Society of Sri Lanka to do the same for patient with Primary immunodeficiency disease. Yet another committee is just putting the final touches to a document outlining the methodology preventing and compensating deaths due to infections cause by occupational exposure.
The College has, in the past, published some important reference material such as a Laboratory manual which outlines the standard operating protocols used by microbiology laboratories in both the state and private sector, a biosafety manual for microbiology laboratories, antibiotic guidelines for the whole country and the Hospital Infection Control manual. This latter document is currently being updated by a large group of consultants and registrars. Two ongoing antimicrobial resistance surveillance projects of the College are to be combined into a single Sri Lanka Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance project that will monitor trends in antimicrobial resistance, a dangerous threat to all of humanity. We require and request the support and input of all our members for these projects.
The Annual Scientific Sessions for 2017 will be held at the end of August with a variety of plenary lectures and symposia and, of course, free papers presented by our members showcasing the research done by them during the previous year. This year’s pre-congress will take the form of an international conference, the 2nd South Asian Melioidosis Congress with speakers and participants from many countries in the region and further afield.
College members are generous in sharing their knowledge and expertise with other health care workers and workshops on antimicrobial use and infection control have been held and more are planned. We also hope to educate doctors across the island on the use of the newly drafted antibiotic guidelines.
None of these activities can be run by the council alone and we need the wholehearted co-operation of the membership to ensure that all these activities are conducted successfully for the benefit or our members, the general public and the country.