I first met Usha as a post graduate student in the MSc Community Medicine class. Since then I have seen her progressing step by step to become a Board certified Consultant in Community Medicine, and serve the Ministry of Health as a Consultant Community Physician with distinction.
She joined the Management Development and Planning Unit of the Ministry of Health for her postgraduate training attachment as a Registrar in Community Medicine. She worked under me in the Directorate of Organization Development. Her contributions were very valuable as this unit was responsible for some important work contributing to health development in the country. Her contributions were so valuable to function as the Secretariat for the National Health Development Network, which included the National Health Council Chaired by the Prime Minister, National Health Development Committee Chaired by the Secretary Health and the Health Development Committee chaired by the DGHS.
Usha’s language and literary skills were immensely useful for the development of various manuals and documentation of proceedings and minutes of various committees.
She was very helpful in coordinating the work of different committees, documenting and follow up. She also served as the MC in many workshops, seminars and conferences showing her talents.
She carried feature articles in national newspapers on these initiatives including World Bank’s 2nd Health Sector Development Project, Strengthening Health Systems and Annual Health Forum.
Usha played an important role in the 1st Health Masterplan Development project supported by JICA. She was a useful link between the national team and the JICA Team, and facilitated and contributed to this important landmark activity.
When the Tsunami hit Sri Lanka, the Ministry did not have a unit to coordinate the work. A temporary unit was established in the Ministry and Usha played an important role, and contributed to many health care interventions for the tsunami.
A disaster preparedness unit was established in the Ministry and she served as a medical officer of this unit. This unit played a very important role for the Rehabilitation of the Displaced people from humanitarian operation at the end of the civil war, and the other disaster situations that followed.
After retirement in 2010 I had the opportunity of working with Usha again when she selected the WHO Country Office as part of her overseas training. As a National Consultant in the WHO Country Office, I supervised Usha. She contributed to the WHO work and was very popular with the staff.
She continued to serve the MDPU of the Ministry of Health and fell ill while at the Health Development Committee Meeting and was rushed to the hospital.
Usha worked with such determination and great sincerity in the service of the health sector and beyond.
On behalf of the entire team at the MDPU, I would like to express our sincere admiration for the amazing efforts put by Usha in the workplace. We appreciate everything that she has done over the past several years since she joined health services. The endless hours that she has spent working there, and the professionalism that she has shown motivated the entire team immensely. We pride in your hard work and dedication to making every critical project a great success.
Thank you Usha, once again for all your contributions, and may her soul rest in peace.
Dr. Sarath Samarage