NSF supports establishment of a Biomedical Innovations Centre at KDU

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Dr. Bandula Wijay

Sri Lanka continues to bear a heavy financial burden for importation of biomedical equipment, some of which can be turned out locally with comparable good quality using the knowledge and skills of local scientists.  Disruption of the global supply chain following the current pandemic that posed serious difficulties in importing some urgent medical equipment needed for managing COVID-infected patients highlighted this need and the potential. A team of scientists from the Kotalawala Defence University (KDU) manufactured a ventilator that could assist COVID patients, with technical guidance from Vidya Jyothi, Dr. Bandula Wijay, the Ambassador for Science Technology and Innovation for Sri Lanka, Visiting Professor, KDU and CEO of ProSum Inc./LeoMed LLC and BinLab, Inc, (a Houston, Texas based Medical Device development company). The existing infrastructure in Biomedical Engineering at the KDU is likely to be further expanded with the postgraduate programme in Biomedical Engineering that will commence shortly.

Given the need for capacity building in Biomedical Engineering and local manufacturing of medical equipment, Prof. Ranjith Senaratne, Chairman and Prof. Nadira Karunaweera, Chairperson of the  Research Arm of the NSF  held discussions with Dr. Bandula Wijay and Major General Milinda Peiris, Vice-Chancellor, KDU  to initiate plans for the establishment of a Biomedical Innovations Centre at the KDU.

A committee headed by Dr. Prasanna Premadasa,  Director,  International  Relations, with Prof Charitha Goonasekara, Dr Pradeep Kalansooriya, Dr Hirulak Siriwardena, Mr WLPK Wijesinghe, Eng Chamal Kohombakadawala, Capt SU Dampage and Prof. Ranil de Silva were appointed as members by the Vice-Chancellor to prepare the framework and roadmap for the proposed initiative. This is a strategic intervention in 2022 for which the NSF has accorded high priority. It is hoped that this initiative will pave the way for the development of robust manufacturing industry of medical equipment in Sri Lanka.