The 75 Group – Leading the way in Sri Lanka
Professor D.G. Harendra de Silva
MBBS (Cey), FRCP (Land & Edin), FRCPCH (UK), DCH (Cey), MSc (Birm), FSLCP (SL), FCGP (SL), FCPS (Pak), FCCP (SL
Harendra, a product of Ananda College, was an outstanding medical student. It was fairly predictable that he would be a leader
in whichever field he chose to specialise in after graduation. He developed an early love for paediatrics (and for Dula !) and specialised in paediatric gastroenterology in Sri Lanka and later
in Birmingham and London. He was first appointed as an academic in 1983 to the fledgling department of Paediatrics in Galle and was Senior Lecturer and subsequently head of the
department. Harendra then became Professor of Paediatrics in 1992 and moved to the University of Kelaniya in 1999 where he continues to lead a vibrant department. The many accolades he has
received during his career, the numerous expert panels he is a member of or chairs, and his membership of delegations representing Sri Lanka internationally, are testimony to the high
regard in which he is held and his major contributions to academic paediatrics in Sri Lanka.
Harendra leads a very busy life. He is presently Chairman of the National Child Protection Authority and was formerly Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Child Protection, both
set up on a personal initiative of the President of Sri Lanka. He is very proud, and justifiably so, at the enormous contribution
he has made in highlighting the various forms of child abuse in Sri Lanka. He has succeeded in alerting the authorities to the
realities of this scourge and has been instrumental in promoting government legislation. He also continues to involve himself
in clinical and laboratory research and has co-authored a large number of papers both in Sri Lankan and international
journals. He is the author of five books. His lecturing skills are put to good use at the many meetings he is invited to speak at
(most recently in New York). How he finds time to indulge in his favourite pastimes of writing short stories and scripts for video productions remains a mystery.
Harendra lives with Dula (who is herself a Deputy Director General of Health) in their lovely home in Maligawatte. They have
two grown up sons (one a medical student and the other doing his A levels). We wish them the very best as they continue to serve Sri Lanka.
He is also the author of “Power Games in War and Peace”.
Professsor Ravindra Fernando
MB BS (Cey), FRCP (UK), MD
Ravi is a product of Ananda College, Colombo, and had an outstanding career as a medical
undergraduate. In addition to being a conscientious student, he immersed himself in the activities of the Buddhist Society (an ardent participant and organiser of Vesak Bakthi Gee!)
and the Medical Student Union. He made an early decision to specialise in Forensic Medicine and joined the Department of Forensic Medicine, Colombo, as a Lecturer soon after his
pre-registration jobs. He then proceeded to the UK to specialise, working in London (Guy's) and Berkshire, and returned as Senior Lecturer (also acquiring postgraduate qualifications
in Clinical Medicine along the way!). He was appointed Professor of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology in Colombo in 1996.
Ravi's abiding interest has been toxicology. While being a clinical teacher he also found
time to set up the National Poisons Information Centre in the National Hospital, Colombo in 1986 and has been its head from
its inception. In a country where self-harm from drugs and chemicals is very common, the Centre has been a source of great
strength and encouragement to all physicians who access it. He has published extensively in his own field and is the author of
12 books. He is also the Director, Centre for the Study of Human Rights, and the Chairman of the National Dangerous Drugs
Control Board. His national standing is reflected in numerous awards (Lion's, Sri Lanka Jaycees and a Presidential award)
he has received. He was the President of the Ceylon College of Physicians in 1997 and will be the President of the Sri Lanka
Medical Association in 2004. Ravi has represented Sri Lanka in UN and British forensic teams (investigating the Thai
Airways crash in Nepal) and was a member of the Presidential Task Force on Child Abuse. He is philosophical about his short
but unsuccessful foray into the field of politics in Sri Lanka. "No amount of training in Forensic Medicine could have prepared me for the carnage in the political battlefields of Sri Lanka" he says.
Married to Nelum, Ravi has a son (Oshan) and a daughter (Harini) who are still in school. We wish Ravi well in the future as
he strives to maintain high standards in Forensic Medicine and in his chosen speciality of Toxicology. May he also continue to raise standards of medical education as an academic in an important field.
This page is complied by Dr Kuvera Premawardhana. Thank you Kuvera.