He returned to Sri Lanka trained in modern nephrology in 1978 and introduced renal biopsy technique using the Trucut technique and promoted colleagues in the Pathology Department towards correct interpretation as a clinicopathology exercise. This is now routine. He promoted new staining techniques and Immunohistochemical staining, Fine needle Aspiration of graft kidneys and thus enhanced the capacity of the Pathology services for Nephrology. This contributed to better identification of etiology in renal disease in sri lanka.
He promoted and set up with Physiology Department colleagues the Renal Research Laboratory initially to get accurate results and easy availability of the serum creatinine/ creatinine clearance values. This was an essential step for close monitoring of renal function. The laboratory expanded its activities and has been opened to the public on a fee for service basis and in known for reliable results.
He set up the Renal Research Fund as a ledger account of the University of Colombo. This fund has helped Renal Research, get Ultrasound Doppler equipment for studying Renovascular status predicting graft rejection and safer renal biopsy technique under sonic guidance.
He also helped to pioneer a Chronic Haemodialysis Progrmme in the private sector in 1984 which therapy was a prequisite for Kidney Transplantation. These facilities were denied to public from the Ministry of Health Hospitals at that time.
He then set up Live Donor Renal Transplantation Programme enlisting the help of University colleagues in Department of Surgery, Forensic, Pathology, Ministry of Health colleagues in Bacteriology, Radiology and Private Sector colleagues in chronic Dialysis. anaesthesiology. The first transplant was done in the Private Sector with the blessing of the University of Colombo as the Faculty of Medicine Kidney Transplant Programme on 05/10/1985. To date this programme has been accepted for funds by the President Fund and had been performed in the Private Hospitals (Ratnam, Nawaloka, Durdans & Western Infirmary) and National Hospital of Sri Lanka. Total Kidney Transplants performed so far 516 (Private Sector 223/ Public Sector 293).
He promoted Dr. Ranjith Attapattu, then Minister of Health to introduce the Human Tissues Act of 1987 in Parliament – which is the only legislation available to us to date. He promoted the Tissue Typing Services to be setup in the National Blood Transfusion Services at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka.
He then set up a Cadaveric Donation Campaign. He coordinated a WHO Workshop on Brain Death and a consensus document was agreed and Brain Death Certification form were introduced into ICU’s all over the country by the Ministry of Health.
Prof. Rezvi Sheriff as Founder President of Sri Lanka Association for Nephrology and Transplantation introduced the DONOR CARD in Sri Lanka.
Nurse training, setting up Kidney Patients Association & Transplant Sports Federation all helped to round off the speciality development.
The first Cadaveric Transplant at NHSL was done on January 1999 by our team & later a second one. (others in Kandy are claiming 10 years later!). We could not proceed as there was no funding and the war problems were overwhelming at that time.
Having set up and consolidated the Renal Diagnostic Services, Haemodialysis services (public and private sector) Transplant service (public and private sector) he then engaged in a Postgraduate Training Programme to train Nephrologists and Vascular/ Transplant Surgeons (with the Professor of Surgery).
The Nephrology Postgraduate Programme has successfully produced 6 Board Certified Nephrologists 2 Transplant Surgeons have also been produced at the same time.
There has been growth of nephrology interest among physicians and the Ministry of Health. Now Dialysis machines are available in,
- National Hospital Sri Lanka
- Sri Jayawardenapura Hospital
- Kandy Hospital
- Anuradhapura Hospital
- Jaffna Hospital
- Karapitiya Hospital
- Colombo South Hospital
and plans to setup units in Kalutara, Amparai and Anamaduwa And in private hospital inclusive of,
- Western Infirmary
- Army Hospital
- Police Hospital
- Aasha Central
The number of transplant programmes too have grown since 1985
- National Hospital (FMKTP – approx 500)
- Kandy General Hospital/ Peradeniya Hospital (approx 160)
- Sri Jayawardena Hospital (approx 20)
- Western Infirmary (approx 15)
- Apollo Hospital (approx 10)
In addition setting up services he has been active in State and Private sector and,
– Set up the only SLE Special Clinic in Sri Lanka at the National Hospital. Several articles have been presented in Sri Lanka & USA and publications as well.
– Many contributions in National and International meetings/ CME programmes in nephrology and a variety of topics.
– Member of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Health on the Human Tissue Act to look at amendments, regulations and Ethical issues related to Transplant.
A Hallmark contribution is the setting up of the National Institute of Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplant (NINDT) at Maligawatte – an 8 stored building being built to house 2 programmes for the Universities & Health Ministry with GMOA blessings.
Promoted patients to set up SLKPA (Sri Lanka Kidney Patients Association)
He gave leadership to form the SLKTPSF (Sri Lanka Kidney Transplant Patients Sports Federation) and sent team to SAARC games and Transplant Olympics.
Thus Professor Rezvi Sheriff has made a tremendous contribution in a pioneering fashion to develop Renal Medicine & Transplantation carrying with it all its additional facets including Laboratory, Ethical aspects, Training Educational & Professional aspects.
Professor Rezvi Sheriff could thus be attributed to have played a pioneering role in the development of renal services and be thought of as the “Father of Modern Nephrology in Sri Lanka.