Dr. Chitra Weerakkody
MBBS (Ceylon), LRCP MRCS (UK), DGM (RCP), Dip Pal Med (Cardiff), DTCD (SL), DTCD (Wales)
I was introduced to palliative medicine by chance, while doing general practice for a short period in the UK.
I continued learning and practicing this field and had the opportunity of working in a hospice and later a specialist palliative care unit in South Wales, UK. I also had the unique opportunity of caring for cancer patients and terminally ill patients with dementia, heart and lung disease, in a hospital set up.
Having witnessed a close family member and a friend dying without any support, I decided to come back to Sri Lanka to start “palliative care”, specialist care and support to those with a terminal illness, in 2009.
I joined the hospice at Maharagama, worked as a volunteer doctor from 2009 to 2011 and introduced palliative care to the nurses for the first time.
With the help of other specialists (see below), I conducted a number of educational programmes to raise awareness about palliative care for doctors and nurses across Sri Lanka
During this period, I realized that cancer patients (and their families) had many social, psychological and spiritual issues, in addition to the severe physical symptoms; and that these need to be addressed to help the patients to have a peaceful end stage and a dignified death.
Hence the idea of starting the community service for the terminally ill patients in their homes, where they feel most isolated and helpless via Sahan Suwa Charitable Trust.
Rohini was a consultant Anaesthetist at the National Hospital Sri Lanka, prior to her retirement following which, she joined the Asiri central private hospital in Colombo. Rohini started the pain clinic at the National Hospital in the year 2000 and conducted the clinic until her retirement in 2014. Rohini was appointed to the pain clinic at the then Cancer Institute Maharagama, and she conducted the clinic every Saturday morning from December 1998 to February 2014. Postgraduate trainees in anesthesia were trained in pain management at this hospital.
Dr. Rohini Ranwala
MD – Anaes (Col), FCARCS (Ire)
Keerthi is a retired hotelier with experience in working at CARE; an international humanitarian organization.
Neela is a former teacher, now housewife and is interested in various philanthropic activities
Chaturi is a prominent and respected Attorney-at-Law, Solicitor and Notary Public in Colombo.
Sunethra is a retired GP in London, UK. she now contributes her time to voluntary work.
“I decided to join Sahan Suwa Charitable Trust as it has given me the opportunity to support people affected by terminal illness. I do also feel privileged to be able to serve my motherland in a very small way. I believe that the genuine and selfless efforts of the members will make it a success.”
Dr. Sunethra Panagoda
Dr. Chanusha Gooneratne
Chanusha is a young and enthusiastic GP in London, UK.
“Palliative care is an area of medicine which is not as well structured within an excellent curative health care system in Sri Lanka. The services of such a charity is therefore very timely. As a Sri Lankan, I was very keen to be a member of this charity as it provided me the opportunity of being part of something very special and a chance to contribute to my motherland”.
Kisanthi heads the trading company Bianco – an arm of the reputed Illukkumbura Group, the electrical contractors.
“I’ve always been passionate about helping people in need and consider any such opportunity a blessing. But on my own, there is only so much I can do with limited spare time. Hence, I am more than happy to be a part of the team and look forward to serving the Sahan Suwa Trust knowing I will be helping someone in need, in a direct or indirect manner. After all, life is short. We didn’t bring anything when we entered this world and most certainly we will not be taking anything with us. But, we can surely leave something good behind. And I’m honored to be part of it.”