Contribution to Science

Vidyajyothi Professor Rezvi Sheriff has contributed to Science in Sri Lanka in the Medical field over and above his usual duties as the Professor of Medicine.

His duties involve undergraduate teacher, postgraduate trainer, Clinician at Consultant level at the National Hospital Sri Lanka both in Internal Medicine and Nephrology giving 24 hours cover to all the Intensive Care units in Colombo 1978 to date. This service component has been enormous. He has also contributed by being a resource person for teaching all categories of Health Care workers for the Ministry of Health.

Some of his special achievements are classified under subject headings given below.

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,

  1. National Hospital Sri Lanka
  2. Sri Jayawardenapura Hospital
  3. Kandy Hospital
  4. Anuradhapura Hospital
  5. Jaffna Hospital
  6. Karapitiya Hospital
  7. Colombo South Hospital

and plans to setup units in Kalutara, Amparai and Anamaduwa And in private hospital inclusive of,

  1. Western Infirmary
  2. Army Hospital
  3. Police Hospital
  4. Aasha Central
  5. Apollo
  6. Asiri
  7. Nawaloka
  8. Durdans

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.

Following up on his interests in Viper bite acute renal failure he developed his links with Prof. David Warrell of Oxford University and set up the OXCOL Research studies project.

This led to the development of 2 new drugs for Sri Lanka.
‘KANERU TAB’-an antibody to digoxin as a sheep based product developed in
UK and Randomized Clinical Trails (RCT) were done by Prof. Rezvi Sheriff’s
team in Anuradhapura.

Of these two drugs KANERU TAB has been imported to Sri Lanka and saved lives as no other alternative drug is available. POLONGA TAB has not yet been purchased by the Ministry of Health as it is expensive and cheaper toxic horse based alternatives are available and in use presently.

‘POLONGA TAB’-an anti Sri Lanka Russel’s Viper antivenom as sheep based
antibody developed in UK and RCT’s have done in Anuradhapura by the same

The OXCOL studies received wide publicity in the international journals. The FDA of USA sent a one man team to study his Kaneru tab research as it was considered a ‘PIVOTAL STUDY’ and approved the use of the drug in USA under a different name (what we used as Kaneru Tab) as this was the only RCT available on the use of anti digoxin antibody in the world.

We are now engaged with a larger team from Universities in Australia and grown into a bigger organization called the SACTRC (South Asian Centre for Toxicological Research Collaboration). This is setup in Anuradhapura and presently has over 5 local and foreign students doing PhDs in this centre. We have blue printed a Toxicological ICU & Centre to be built in Anuradhapura General Hospital and he is a Founder Member in these efforts. Funds have been found and an MOU is being finalized with the Ministry of Health (Central) Ministry of Health (Provincial) and the SACTRC.

I am a co-investigator in several studies in organophosphate poisoning with several of the researchers in SACTRC.

  •    3.1 Infrastructure development

    •  As Chairman of “Uni Aid” Committee to promote & build a better canteen, improve faculty environment conducive to undergraduate, postgraduates & university staff at the Faculty of Medicine Colombo.
    • Promoted the building of the Clinical Teaching annex to ward 41 National Hospital Sri Lanka for UG/ PG trainees with sound system, TV, Video, Beds for Clinical teaching – An Air-condition facility in 1987
    • Promoted the building of the Clinical Research annex to ward 41 National Hospital Sri Lanka for post-op care of KT patients 1984
    • The Clinical Examination Building at the National Hospital Sri Lanka (Ministry of Health land) with funds from Ministry of Higher Education. He successfully negotiated a Memorandum Of Understanding which was a major achievement. This is a 4 storied building with a Auditorium for 350 persons for large Scientific meetings in the Hospital & will help to improve Clinical Teaching. The building also has facilities for Clinical Examinations and offices. One object of this building is to share facilities to foster harmony between Health Ministry Consultants & University Scientists which presently is an impediment to the growth of Medical/ Clinical Science.
    • Maligawatte National Institute of Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation (NINDT) – above mentioned 8 storied facility.

  •    3.2 Infrastructure at CCP

    • He negotiated 30 perches of land for the CCP with the UDA & higher officials at Rajagiriya. He was responsible single handedly to put up a structure for the CCP as the UDA threatened to take over the land if not developed within 6 months. A Turnkey Project was done to save the land.
    • We have there is now a small, nice looking administrative complex for the CCP. A plaque of honour for Professor Rezvi Sheriff was put up in the front lobby.
    • He have also been the Editor of the CCP Journal for over 15 years. The longest serving editor producing a regular peer reviewed publication for the College.

  •    3.3 Health Policy/ Education Policy

    • Active member of the University Reforms Task Force 1994
      (Appointed by President Chandrika Kumaranatunga)
    • Active member of the National Education Committee 2004
      (Appointed by President Chandrika Kumaranatunga)

  •    3.4 Role in Curriculum Development UG/ PGIM

    • Active proponent of the Colombo Medical Schools new curriculum introduced in 1996
    • Chairman CVS Module Committee and Clinical Sciences Stream
    • Chairman Electives Committee (started elective programme in the Faculty)
    • Person in charge of Management Committee of the IRQUE Project (Improve Relevance Quality of Undergraduate Education)
    • Chairman of the CDEC (Curriculum Development & Evaluation Committee)

  •    3.5 Role in Post Graduate Institute of Medicine

    • Chairman of Board of Study in Medicine – 2004. Member since 1990.
    • Coordinated & Initiated the Postgraduate Nephrology Programme.
    • Chief Examiner for MD since 1996.
    • Active resource person/ participant in many PG Education workshops for Trainers and Trainees at the PGIM.
    • Member of the PGIM Board of Management ‘1997-2004’.
    • Presently promoting the ‘Trainee Appraisal Programme’ of PG’s
    • Has Acted for the Director PGIM in 2002, 2003, 2004 & 2005 on numerous occasions
      • 19th September to 23rd September – 2002
      • 25th February to 03rd March – 2003
      • 12th April to 09th May – 2003
      • 26th June to 03rd July – 2003
      • 08th September to 18th September – 2003
      • 04th March to 08th March – 2004
      • 15th April to 16th April – 2004
      • 29th June to 11th July – 2004
      • 13th July to 27th July – 2004
      • 09th August to 14th August – 2004
      • 01st September to 09th September – 2004
      • 16th October to 25th October – 2004
      • 07th February to 14th February – 2005
      • 13th June to 19th June – 2005
    • Has been resource person in several workshops in the PGIM,
      • Training of Trainers – 13th May2003
      • Evaluation of Training Programmes – 30th March 2004
      • Appraisal based Postgraduate workshops – 31st May 2004
      • MCQ review workshops – 03rd February 2004

    3.5.1 Started & Sustains MCQ Bank as ‘Bank Manager’ for PGIM

    • This is a major project for PGIM. Previously we spent ₤180 x 200 candidates x twice/year exams to the RCPL ie 13 Million Rupees for a year. Now for the last 10 years we have our own MCQ bank (over 2000 questions) and he is sacrificing every Friday morning for this work with a small team. A saving of over a 100 Million Rupees in the last 10 years. This has been a major achievement and now we need to work on improving the Quality of MCQ and add on new formats/ types of MCQs to our bank and looking at computerizing the MCQ storage system & analysis.

  •    3.6 Introducing & Sustaining MRCP links with RCPL at the CCP

    • For the CCP, he has initiated setting up of MRCP (P1) & Part 2 written exams for the last 6 years. From 2005 CCP shall host 3(P1) & 3(P2) exams every year for Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan & Bangladesh. PACES exam is to be negotiated soon. This project is handled single handedly by me.

Awards/ Honours

  • 1993
    National Award :VIDYAJYOTHI (Scientific Luminary)
    His Excellency late R. Premadasa nominated Prof. R. Sheriff for the National Award VIDYAJYOTHI (Scientific Luminary) which he received in 1993
  • 1989
  • 1983
    SLMA 1983 - EM Wijerama Award
    Best Research Paper – “Contaminated opium as a Source of chronic arsenic poisoning”. 96th Anniversary sessions, Sri Lanka Medical Association
  • 1984
    SLMA 1984 - Best Research paper
    paper on “Contaminated opium producing Arsenic poisoning Co-author
  • 1985
    SLMA 1985 - Best research paper
    Awarded to “Does Mimordia Charantia (Karawila) help diabetic patients? Presented and also co-author.
  • 1991
    Sexual dysfunction in diabetic males
  • 1996
    Co-author “Patient mixed biphasic Insulin in a diabetic Clinic
  • 2002
    Lamivudine therapy for hepatitis B (HBV) infection in post-renal transplant patient; results after 12 months follow up.- 115th Anniversary ACADEMIC Sessions
  • 2005
    - “Plasma homocysteine in polycystic ovary syndrome: does it correlate with insulin resistance and ethnicity?” - 118th Anniversary Academic Sessions.
  • 2006
    – “Retinopathy among young adult-onset diabetic subjects in Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Young Diabetes Study (SLYDS)” – 39th Annual Academic Sessions
  • 2006
    – “in the subject of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism” – 39th Annual Academic Sessions
  • 2006
    – “Prevalence of diabetes and pre-diabetic states among urban adults in Sri Lanka” – 39th Annual Academic Sessions
  • 2010
    “according to a scientrometric study of Research productivity in Sri Lanka from 1999 to 2010 based on the ISF wos database”. He has 28 publications during this period, having been cited 479 times, which is several times greater than those ranked closest to him.

Fellowship awards

  • 2006
    National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka.
  • 1979
    JICA FELLOW 1979
    - Advanced Renal Failure Training in Japan.
  • 1980
    WHO FELLOW 1980
    - Medical Education and Advanced Medicine
    Training in U.S.A.
  • 1989
    - Post Doctoral Research UK
    University of Oxford,

Research awards

  • 1999-2003
    – 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 & 2003
  • 1999-2000
  • 1980
    WHO FELLOW 1980
    - Medical Education and Advanced Medicine
    Training in U.S.A.
  • 1989
    - Post Doctoral Research UK
    University of Oxford,
  • 2003-2006

Founder of Several Science Based Organization

  •    Founder Treasurer - Endocrine Association of Sri Lanka.
  •    Founder President - Sri Lanka Association of Nephrology and Transplantation and Sri Lanka Transplant Sports federatin
  •    Founder President - Sri Lanka Hypertension Society
  •    Founder Member of South Asian Centre for Toxicology Research Collaboration
  •    Founder Member-OXCOL project (between University of Colombo & University of Oxford)
  •    Founder Director-Snake Venom Research Laboratory & Herpetarium, Faculty of Medicine Colombo
  •    Founder Life Member of Allergy & Immunology Society of Sri Lanka.
  •    Founder Member of Physiological Society of Sri Lanka