Senior Professor Sumadhya Deepika Fernando

MBBS,PhD(CMB,SL), Dip(Micro), MD(Med Parasitology)

Consultant Parasitologist

Senior Professor

Department of Parasitology

Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Deepika Fernando is a Senior Professor and Consultant Parasitologist, Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. She is certified as a Specialist in Clinical Parasitology by the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine, Sri Lanka following her post doctoral training at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Oxford, United Kingdom.

She has been a Technical Consultant and Advisor for the Anti Malaria Campaign of Sri Lanka since 2008 and played an integral role in the elimination of malaria from the country. She is one of the five authors of the National Malaria Elimination Report written for WHO certification which was published by the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine following the receipt of the malaria elimination certificate in September 2016. Currently she is an Advisor and Consultant to several committees of the Anti Malaria Campaign including the Case Review Committee which analyses all the malaria cases reported in the country on a monthly basis and the Drug and Therapeutic Committee, which assists in the procurement of essential anti- malarial drugs. In addition, she has assisted to draft the national malaria treatment guidelines, guidelines on malaria prophylaxis for travellers, guidelines on malaria outbreak and response and the manual for parasitological surveillance in prevention of malaria reintroduction/reestablishment in Sri Lanka.

Between 2009- 2014 she was the Deputy Director and a Technical Consultant of the Tropical and Environmental Diseases and Health Associates which was one of the three Principal Recipients of the Global Fund Round 8 Grant to Sri Lanka for malaria elimination. During this period, working with the Anti Malaria Campaign, she established 55 malaria diagnosis centres and trained 112 persons on malaria diagnosis in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of the country, thus contributing significantly towards the national development of parasitological services.

Due to the vast experience on malaria elimination and prevention of reintroduction of malaria in Sri Lanka she was appointed as a member of the Faculty of Harvard University, USA in 2019 for the leadership development course titled “Science of Eradication:Malaria”. She also represented Sri Lanka at the International Workshop on AI- enabled Active Surveillance Strategies for Malaria Control and Elimination in Southeast Asian Countries in July 2019.

She has also been a member of the Technical Support Group, Dengue Control Programme, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka since 2014 and due to the significant contribution was assigned to the Oversight Committee for Dengue Control by the Director General Health Services in 2017.

In addition to the special research interest in malaria, where research is carried out in collaboration with the staff of the Anti Malaria Campaign, Prof. Fernando has over 112 publications in peer reviewed international journals in areas related to  filariasis, leishmaniasis, soil transmitted helminth infections and dengue. She has obtained several competitive international and national research grants and  supervised students reading for PhD, MPhil and Masters degrees including six MSc degrees of students who completed the Global Health Sciences Programme from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.  Thus, she has substantial experience in administration and financial management of large research grants.

With approximately 25 years experience in teaching undergraduates and postgraduates at the Faculty of Medicine, Colombo, she was invited as a trainer for training teachers engaged in teaching Parasitology to international medical students across China in 2019. Due to the special interest in developing e-learning and technology based education, she has published several interactive CDs and videos for medical students.