From April 4 to 7 at the Jaffna University Medical Faculty
To mark its 40th anniversary, students of the Jaffna University Medical Faculty have organised an exhibition titled ‘Yarl Med Ex 2018’ which is scheduled to be held from April 4 to 7 at the faculty premises. The exhibition is co-sponsored by the Health Ministry (Northern Province) and local and international chapters of the Alumni Association in partnership with the event management company, ‘Evolution.’
The Medical Faculty has played a pioneering role in introducing medical exhibitions to the Northern Province and this year’s exhibition will set the platform to raise awareness and dialogue on health issues faced by the Northerners. While shedding light on recent developments in the health sector, the exhibition will provide opportunities for school-goers and school-leavers to explore career opportunities in the fast-growing health sector. The latter is of pivotal significance to the province, given the dearth of healthcare professionals. The exhibition will be held in Vanni in October in a bid to create awareness in remote areas.
Furthermore, ‘Yarl Med Ex 2018’ will address the following key thematic areas: basic sciences, career guidance, current challenges in health, recent advances and future directions in medicine and health across the life cycle. The last consists of four stages addressing child, adolescent, adult and elder health. Unlike the traditional format that centres on various disciplines in medicine, the exhibition takes a crosscutting approach to highlighting priority issues in the North.
The exhibition boasts a number of attractions. The basic sciences and career guidance areas target A/L students and school-leavers. Among the highlights are hologram displays of 3D images of the human body, cadaver specimens and an application to assist students in making career decisions. Among other displays, the current challenges zone addresses road accidents and features numerous non-communicable disease prevention strategies including a section devoted to organic farming.
The recent advances zone introduces nanotechnology and robotics, including nanotechnology for cancer therapy, the Da Vinci robotic guided laparoscopy system and 3D printed prosthetics. Finally, the zones addressing health across the life cycle feature opportunities for non-communicable disease screening, including bio-impedance analysis to measure body fat and health education on cancer prevention. Other contemporary social issues with wide-ranging implications for healthcare including child abuse, gender-based violence and substance abuse will be covered, as relevant to each age group. A section is dedicated to elder care, given the growing aging population in the Northern Province, which has seen mass out-migration.
A key objective of the exhibition is to create opportunities for students to express their creativity while developing team spirit and honing leadership and communication skills
A key objective of the exhibition is to create opportunities for students to express their creativity while developing team spirit and honing leadership and communication skills. Towards this goal, Yarl Med Ex 2018 is jointly organised by medical students and students of the Allied Health Science Unit. Notably, this inter-disciplinary approach emphasizes the value of inter-professional collaboration in the health sector, sadly lacking today.
The exhibition has been integrated into the undergraduate medical curriculum as a ‘Field Health Activity,’ a core requirement in Community Medicine. The ‘Field Health Activity’ is essentially a community-based health promoting activity carried out by medical students in year four of the undergraduate programme. While such activities have been undertaken both individually and collectively in yester years, Yarl Med Ex 2018 will constitute a collective Field Health Activity for the 36th batch of medical students, who are collaborating with junior and senior colleagues of the Medical Faculty and the Unit of Allied Health Sciences.
Charles Camilas, President of the Student Organising Committee, is playing a steering role in the exhibition. According to Charles, the students initially took on the exhibition purely as an academic activity, but they have since come to realise its value in creating sustained ‘connections and memories’ by bringing students together. Charles also speaks of the heart-warming response received from A/L students in the Northern Province, to essay and art competitions organised parallel to the exhibition.
Brintha Suseendran, Secretary, appreciates the hard work put in by colleagues of her faculty as well as other faculties (especially Fine Arts, Architecture and Engineering of the Jaffna University, Eastern University and the University of Moratuwa). She also highlights the support students received from academic staff, sponsors and well-wishers.
Geerthana Nagenthiran, Treasurer, echoes these sentiments adding that she feels privileged that her batch was given the opportunity to be a part of this historic event and make a contribution to societal well-being.
The students are ably supported by the Chair of the Exhibition Committee, Dr. R. Surenthirakumaran, Senior Lecturer and Head/Community and Family Medicine and his team of academic staff in the Organising Committee. Dr. S. Raviraj, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, has provided sustained leadership to the event with support from Prof. R. Vigneswaran, Vice Chancellor, Jaffna University. Financial assistance from the Northern Provincial Council and the Health Ministry (Northern Province) has made this medical exhibition a reality.
We welcome participants from across the island to make this historic event a resounding success.
[Written by members of the Media Sub-committee of the Exhibition Committee, Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna].