Sunday, March 6, 2016

Rs. 5 million endowment for diabetes research by expat Lankan

By Dr. Selvie Perera - Past President CCP -1994
Dr P.R Wikramanayake, a Sri Lanka born doctor who received his medical education here, worked for the Health Department and later moved to Australia where he was highly regarded for his work on diabetes has donated Rs 5 Million to the Ceylon College of Physicians (CCP). He has asked that the interest on the endowment be annually awarded for the best Research Paper on diabetes.

The President and the Council of the Ceylon College of Physicians has thanked Dr Ranji Wikramanayake, who is a Founder member of the CCP, for this generous endowment.

Dr. Wikremanayake’s wife fell ill in Singapore when they were on their way to Sri Lanka to present the initial award personally, compelling them to return to Australia. Mr. .Tilak de Zoysa, who holds Dr. Wikramanayake’s Power of Attorney here, was deputed the task of presenting the endowment to Dr Lalith Wijeratne, the immediate past President of the CCP

Dr P.R Wikramanayake is the son of Mr. E.G Wikramanayake QC and Girlie Wikramanayake and a product of S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia.

His wife, Amara, who holds a B.Sc. (Chemistry Honours) degree from the Science Faculty of the Colombo University is the daughter of Dr S.E Weerasuriya and Mrs. Weerasuriya. She was Head Girl of Visakha Vidyalaya and captained the netball team at the Colombo University and won tennis and netball colours.

She is "Drop Dead Gorgeous" as a present teenager would describe her looks!

Amara is outgoing but Ranji was quiet by nature. As the Sinhala saying goes "jadiata moodiya! However (as a friend told me) he has a super sense of humour when inspired and is a thorough gentleman.

The rowdy crowd of medical students in our day called him "Arrow Mahattaya" or "B" (not in a derogatory or envious sense). In that era, every medical student’s dream was to possess an Arrow and Marks and Spencer bri-nylon shirt. By the way an Arrow shirt cost only Rs 12.00 way back in the 50’s.

Medical students of that era helped each other. Omelet (bless his soul) was one who was helped by P.R. Ranji shared his knowledge with D who was a "devil may care" medical student who says she got through her final exam thanks to his coaching.

On his return from the UK with the MRCP (London) he was posted Consultant Physician OPD which involved looking after the diabetes clinic. He worked on researching diabetes with foreign collaboration and has been involved in this field since.

He read a paper in the Plenary Scientific Sessions of the CCP on "Diabetic dyslipidaemia and its management" in 1994.

He went on a Nuffield Fellowship to UK and transferred to Australia where he was appointed Diabetologist at Prince Edward Hospital for two years. He was then appointed as General Physician with his own junior staff for over 10 years.

He thereafter moved to Concord Hospital as Diabetologist and was appointed Consultant Physician for next seven years continuing at the Diabetic Clinic. Today it is a well established Endocrine Unit. The last place he worked at the Canterbury District General Hospital where he was chairman of the Medical Board for several years.

While thanking him for his generous contribution the President and the Council of the Ceylon College of Physicians wish him every blessing for the future.

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