Message of the President

I consider it an honor to be the President of the Sri Lankan Association of Geriatric Medicine, 2020-2021.
It is gratifying to see the progress made by the Association during this short period of existence, mostly
due to the dedication and commitment of those held the office earlier.

Although population transition leading to the expansion of the segment of old adults in Sri Lanka is well
known, the preparedness of the relevant sections to face the increased demands of older adults is not
clearly evident. I recall at least two failed attempts to get the authorities to commence a postgraduate
training program previously.

The health and welfare of older adults has become the prime focus of the current Covid-19 pandemic as
older adults are more vulnerable to the infection and have a higher mortality compared to young.
Furthermore, the negative impact of preventive measures such as movement restrictions and social
isolation are more pronounced in this age group. The attempts to safeguard older adults in the
pandemic at global level were inefficient and lack dynamism. Some countries openly opted for the
mitigation of damage rather than the prevention of infection expecting to build up the herd immunity
ignoring the possible heavy mortality among older adults.

“Think wise and age well” is the theme of this year and the current pandemic has forced us to deviate
from our routine. Most of the educational activities are Zoom based and annual sessions have been
postponed until next year. We hope to conduct the conference from 25-27 th March 2021 in Colombo
and subcommittees are working hard to prepare a balanced and educationally rich program.
The main focus of this year is to prepare the next generation of doctors and nurses to face the needs,
medical and other, of older adults. We have already initiated discussions with relevant authorities for
this purpose.

We live in an era of uncertainties in a volatile environment due to the most devastating threat to human
kind during our life time. Despite many limitations, I hope, we will be able to achieve the targets we set
out for this year. In order to achieve this, I request and require the fullest support of all sections
interested in the health and wellbeing of older adults in this country.

“Our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to
face the challenge of change.” (Martin Luther King Jr)

Professor Sarath Lekamwasam
President, Sri Lankan Association of Geriatric Medicine