It is with great pleasure I write this message to the web site of the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, University of Ruhuna (UOR). Our faculty is the latest addition to the UOR becoming its 10th Faculty. My role as the founder Dean of the FAHS is to develop the young Faculty to a fully-fledged health science educational institute within a few years. The team members of the FAHS including academic and non-academic staff are committed for this goal along with leadership of the UOR with Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor. We are being supported by the University Grants Commission, Ministry of Higher Education and the political authorities of the country under the new policies of the Government of Sri Lanka to expand the opportunities for higher education in the country to achieve this goal.
The FAHS was established to expand the opportunities for higher education in the field of allied health sciences as well as to improve the quality of training of health care workers of the country in general to improve the quality of health care in the country. It also intended to improve the quality of the educational programmes within the Faculty to ensure, we achieve international standards on quality assurance. We needed separate infrastructure to achieve this as the existing programmes were running within the Faculty of Medicine. The educational programmes in the fields of Nursing, Medical laboratory Sciences, Pharmacy, Radiography etc. are highly underdeveloped in our country and elsewhere in the developing world. Traditionally most of these developing countries look forward towards doctors and nurses to provide health care where as the health care teams are much larger and diverse than these two categories.
Looking beyond the nurses, doctors for provision of health care has become an important topic for discussion in the field now. Also the world is now trying to discuss and address the issues of severe shortage of health care workers globally. There is a shortage of 4.3 million health care workers according to a WHO report of 2015. Even USA is trying to address the shortage of doctors by developing a category called Physician Assistants to help doctors out in the community similar to our Assistant Medical Practitioners (AMP/RMP) programmes in those early years up to 1995. Hence we need to focus separately to developing these new categories of health care workers in a different place where it is independent to develop on its own. We need increased numbers of workers in the health system like occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, radiographers, public health staff etc. with upgraded better quality training. We also need to align health policies to economic policies where our graduates could cater to the export market in Western Europe, USA, Japan and Middle East as technical experts in their own fields. This is included in the vision and the mission of the FAHS.
To achieve this Faculty has a very ambitious expansion plan once the infrastructure has developed further, in the proposed site with a land area of 12 acres (5 hectares) with new courses, increased intakes and post graduate courses for current diploma qualified health workers following their lateral entry for basic degree courses to upgrade their careers and bring their knowledge up to date and give them opportunities to work overseas.
Please visit our website for more details and proposed plans for the expansion of the FAHS and plans to produce employable graduates for country. Our current employability rate is 86 % at one year and 96% at two years of graduation on tracer studies.
Prof. Imendra Kotapola.
Dean, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences,
University of Ruhuna.