Plus - Letter to the editor

Jaffna as cradle of modern medical education in this country

The history of modern medical education in this country does not begin in 1870, the year the Ceylon Medical College was established, as most accounts would have us believe.

Ernest Mcintyre’s article,The human drama underneath the factual medical, historical material” (Sunday Times PLUS, March 14, 2010) should come as a revelation to many. The article refers to Thiru Arumugam’s book “Nineteenth-Century American Medical Missionaries in Jaffna, with special reference to Samuel Fisk Green”.

Mr. Mcintyre points out that the American medical missionary Dr. Samuel F. Green, a pioneer in medical practice in this country, set up his practice in 1848, and produced 115 doctors over a period of three decades. The article also provides evidence that the first recognised medical practitioners in Ceylon were produced in the Jaffna peninsula.

As a student of the Jaffna Medical Faculty, which opened in 1978, I was impressed and inspired by the visionary words of Dr. Samuel F. Green that adorn the Anatomy Laboratory, the Medical Library, and other sections of the Medical Faculty. Dr. Green’s words have a perennial value. In the anatomy dissection laboratory, for example, Dr. Green’s words exhort the medical student to treat the cadaver with respect, underlining the fact that the dead human body has its own dignity.

The Sunday Times article should set the record straight on important facts pertaining to the history of medical education in Sri Lanka.

Dr K. E. Karunakaran, Dean/Faculty of Health Care Sciences, Eastern University, Sri Lanka

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