The Commonwealth Medical Association’s 24th Triennial Conference 2016 to be held in Colombo from 14 to 16 October was launched at a ceremony at the Atrium Lobby of the Cinnamon Grand Hotel on 18 August by the Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne.
The conference is hosted by the Sri Lanka Medical Association, the Health Informatics Society of Sri Lanka and the Government of Sri Lanka. The invitation to host the conference in Colombo was extended to the Commonwealth in 2013 during the time when the current President Maithripala Sirisena was the Minister of Health. Dr. Rajitha Senarathne further extended the invitation to the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meetings in Geneva in May 2015 and in May 2016. The conference is scheduled to be held from 14 to 16 October at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo.
The Commonwealth has reciprocated Sri Lanka’s invitation at the highest level as evidenced by the confirmation of the presence of the Secretary General, Baroness Patricia Scotland and the Chairman of the Commonwealth Foundation, Sir Anand Sathyandan. In addition the Commonwealth has also decided to convene the 16-member Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Health (CACH), the highest policy formulating body in the field of Health in the Commonwealth, at the time of the conference in Colombo.
This is an honour for Sri Lanka as it the first time that the CACH is meeting outside of London. Furthermore the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) has partnered with the conference to organise the first ever Commonwealth Healthcare Business and Investment Forum with the participation of Chris Fearne, Minister of Health, Malta and Co-chair of the Commonwealth Healthcare Business Group which is based in Malta.
The theme of the conference, in keeping with the commonwealth Medical Associations mandate to improve the health and wellbeing of commonwealth countries and communities, is ‘Digital Health for Health and Wellbeing’. Speaking at the launch Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said, “Sri Lanka has pioneered various eHealth, mHealth and Digital Health initiatives with very low cost free and open source software backed by a unique postgraduate training program for doctors aimed at creating leaders in health informatics.
In fact I have been informed that by 2019 Sri Lanka will become only the second country in the world after the USA to have board certified health Informaticians. Recently, the District Nutrition Monitoring System, developed by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Unicef and the Health Informatics Society of Sri Lanka won the mBillionth Award from the Digital Empowerment Foundation as the best early stage healthcare mobile app in South Asia.
This system is now used by 600 midwives in three districts to monitor the nutrition status of children. We believe that Digital Health has much to offer in the care of an aging population with non-communicable disorders in the community, monitoring of maternal and child health and nutrition, and the control of bad habits that contribute to non-communicable disorders such as tobacco, and substance abuse. We plan to share our experience in Digital Health at the conference.” The global software giant Microsoft will be the platinum sponsor of the conference.
Over 100 speakers from around the world have confirmed their participation as speakers. These include speakers such as Sir Michel Marmot the President of the World Medical Association. The conference is expected to be attended by 500 doctors, nurses, midwives, and other healthcare workers as well as hospital operators and businessman from around the commonwealth and beyond. Further information on the conference can be found on the conference website http://www.cma2016.org. The conference is open to all and therefore anyone who registers for the conference can participate.