In Sri Lanka, nutritional and nutrition related disorders have continued to be, not only a serious public health concern but also a common problem in the clinical context to both adults and children.

From a public health perspective, malnutrition remains a serious problem among Sri Lankans especially among children, pregnant and lactating mothers. Overall, the nutritional status of children under 5 years in Sri Lanka has not shown much improvement during the past ten years. A national level study conducted in 2012, reported that 13 percent of children were stunted, 22 percent underweight and 19 percent were wasted compared with 18.4 percent stunting, 22.8 percent underweight and 15.5 percent wasting reported in Demographic and Health Survey in 2000. Percentage of low birth weight babies has continued to be about 16 – 18 percent over the past decade. Relationship of low birth weight to later life chronic diseases is a matter of concern.

Sri Lanka is beginning to experience the double burden of malnutrition in both adults and children. Overweight and obese individuals have a greater risk of developing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD): diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer. NCDs, often precipitated by poor nutrition, presently account for 60% of global deaths and 65% of deaths in Sri Lanka. It is predicted that by 2020, NCDs and obesity are likely to cause 73% of all deaths and 60% of all diseases globally.

From an individual perspective, there are many clinical situations where nutrition management is required not only as a focus on primary and secondary prevention but also in actual management of the individual patients. Such inputs require specific nutrition and dietetic instructions to prevent complications of the clinical condition and need to be precise and best delivered by the clinicians.

The Ministry of Health has established several nutrition clinics to improve nutrition care in Out Patients Departments (OPD) employing medical officers with MSc in Human Nutrition. However, there is no specialist who is trained to coordinate nutrition related activities and provide comprehensive nutrition care. Therefore, clinicians with specialized nutrition training will be in the forefront of clinical nutrition management i.e. nutrition care of critically ill patients, in patients and OPD patients. Clinical Nutrition is an accepted specialty in many developed countries involving nutrition management of critically ill, medical, surgical/trauma, paediatric and gynaecology and obstetrics patients. These specialists are specifically trained for above through a specialist training programme similar to other clinical specialties. This training will result in provision of optimum nutrition care, effective disease management, fast recovery and guided rehabilitation of patients. The ultimate aim is to ensure coverage of all districts of the country with these highly trained and Specialist in Clinical Nutrition, resident whilst on duty at Nutrition Units of all District, Provincial and Teaching Hospitals.

The academic matters of the Programme are determined by the Specialty Board in Clinical Nutrition, in concurrence with the relevant units of the PGIM. It has representations from medical faculties, Ministry of Health, Ceylon College of Physicians, College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka, College of Anaesthesiologists of Sri Lanka, College of Paediatricians of Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Sri Lanka, College of Rheumatologists, Endocrinologist society of Sri Lanka, Nutrition Society of Sri Lanka, Health Informatics Society of Sri Lanka and Local and International centers of excellence in Clinical Nutrition.  The training is conducted in units in teaching hospitals of the Ministry of Health and units in the state and private sectors recognized for this purpose by the Specialty Board of Clinical Nutrition. The PGIM is therefore in the ideal position to provide this Programme for the whole nation, in terms of its access to expertise and facilities, and its inclusivity and representativeness, which have evolved and developed over the past decades. This development has taken into consideration both national requirements and international trends, paid due regard to academic standards and rigor suitable for the postgraduate level, and has taken account of the practical situation of the state and private health care sectors.

The overall aim is to produce “a lead clinician who can assume a leadership role to coordinate interdisciplinary clinical nutrition services, provide nutritional care during illness, manage common nutrition problems, provide education for fellow health care professionals with confidence and competence, and make decisions, at individual, community and population levels, whilst preventing diet related diseases.”

By the end of the training programme, the trainee should be:

  • ∙ capable of providing nutrition care for patients and safely manage common nutrition problems, with confidence, and is competent to make decisions, at individual level and provide guidance to programme at community and population levels where relevant, whilst preventing diet related diseases.
  • ∙ Able to provide a leadership role in coordinating interdisciplinary clinical nutrition services and education in health care settings.

For this purpose, the trainee should be able to:

  • ∙ Demonstrate adequate knowledge and competency to manage a range of nutritional disorders in a hospital setting and possess an advanced knowledge of clinical nutrition, at biological, social and policy levels.
  • ∙ Interpret and synthesize different types of data used to assess nutritional problems.
  • ∙ Assess critically, select and apply a range of appropriate research skills and techniques and be able to evaluate critically the findings of scientific studies of clinical nutrition.
  • ∙ Possess a sound knowledge of community resources to identify and formulate appropriate responses and intervention strategies to address nutritional issues, taking into account the public health and social policy contexts to improve the nutrition well-being of patients
  • ∙ Apply knowledge of effective teamwork and communication skills in dealing with children, parents and relatives to solve problems and achieve goals.
  • ∙ Demonstrate leadership role in coordinating interdisciplinary clinical nutrition services and education in hospital settings.
  • ∙ Demonstrate high standards of moral and ethical behavior towards patients, and their families and co-workers

Prospective applicants must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. A medical degree registered with the Sri Lanka Medical Council
  2. Satisfactory completion of internship acceptable to the Sri Lanka Medical Council
  3. Satisfactory completion of one-year work experience in Sri Lanka, after completion of internship.
  4. Successful completion of MSc in Human Nutrition of the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo within the last six years.
  5. One year of experience working in a clinical nutrition unit after obtaining the MSc in Human Nutrition.
  6. Complying with any other PGIM general regulations relevant to selection of trainees.

The criteria prescribed in paragraphs 1) to 6) must have been satisfied by the applicants as at the date of closure of applications. If a shortfall has occurred due to any reasons, including sick leave, maternity leave or any other form of leave, the doctor concerned should complete such shortfall in order to become eligible to apply for the selection examination.

Applications shall be invited at regular intervals (usually annually) by the Director of the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine from medical officers in the state and non-state sector fulfilling the above “eligibility criteria” for enrolment for pre-MD training programme.

Please refer to the relevant prospectus for the most up to date information. The prospectus of a particular programme contains official information pertaining to a programme approved by the Board of Management, University Senate and the University Grants Commission

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