Hema Weerakoon

I was born in Anuradhapura, an ancient city which was one of the oldest chronicles in the world. I got my primary education at Vijayapura  Maha  vidyalaya and Central College Anuradhapura. I pursue higher education at the University of Peradeniya, one of the bmoste eautiful universities in the world. I did my internship at the Teaching Hospital of Anuradhapura in 1997. My first appointment was Senior House Officer in the Surgical Unit for five years, followed by work in the Divisional Hospital l Mihintale and Dermatology Unit, both at the Teaching Hospital of Anuradhapura. I worked as Medical Officer in Dermatology for five years between 2005 to 2010. During that period, I worked with a pioneering researcher-dermatologist. I conducted research on leishmaniasis and in 2007 we first noticed that more leishmaniasis patients were reporting from Thalawa area and Padaviya area in Anuradhapura. Leishmaniasis has become a notifiable disease in Sri Lanka.  I am currently holding the post of Medical Officer in Public Health, attached to the Provincial Health Department, North Central Province in Sri Lanka with 21 years experience in clinical and public health.  

My main research interest areas are in tropical dermatological diseases, mainly leishmaniasis and leprosy. I contributed to 14 scientific papers in national and international journals, including 3 clinical trials in leishmaniasis. I have presented 39 abstracts in national and international conferences and I authored the first Sinhalese booklet (2011) on Leishmaniasis published in Sri Lanka. 

I have been a recipient of the RIRMED Research grant awards in 2013 and 2015 in Sri Lanka for my research in leishmaniasis. I   was awarded from MTM Jiftry memorial Award for Popularization of Science in 2015 by National Science Foundation in Sri Lanka. I also got an award from the Anuradhagrama newspaper, published by the Chamber of Commerce in Anuradhapura, for continuous supply of health-related articles. 

With my carrier as a medical officer I am working as a resource person to raise awareness on leishmaniasis in Anuradhapura. I delivered training over 70 times since 2011 to 2019 for community, health staff and school children.  

I am an external Lecturer of Medicine Pharmacology and Dermatology for students of Nurses training school Anuradhapura and Army Nurses Training school Sri Lanka.   

My dream is to reduce disease burden of communicable diseases, especially leishmaniasis in the North Central Province in Sri Lanka.