Professor.C. Sivagnanasundaram, Emiritus professor of Community Medicine, University of Jaffna passed away on June 4,2005, after making valuable contributions as a medical professional; an academic; a teacher, a researcher and above all a kind and considerate human being.
He obtained the MBBS degree from the University of Ceylon in 1955 and served in the state health services in many posts until 1964, when he joined the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine in the faculty of Medicine, University of Ceylon, Peradeniya.
In 1964, he obtained the DPH (London) and was awarded the phD by the University of London in 1971. He was conferred an honourary DSC by the University of Jaffna in 1995.
At the faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, he continued his services as an excellent teacher, a mentor to students and an active member of the faculty staff for many years until 1978, when he moved to the newly established Faculty of Medicine at the University of Jaffna as a professor of Community Medicine.He held this post until the retirement and continued to serve in this capacity for 12 years after he formally retired from the university service.
His contributions to the Faculty of Medicine, Jaffna were wide and varied.He served as Dean of the Faculty as a member of the University council for 14 years. The booklet titled “Memories of our late Prof.Sivagnanasundaram” , published by the Medical students union of the Faculty of Medicine, Jaffna, two months after his demise amply demonstrates our sentiments.
His contributions to education were not limited to medical professionals. His keen interest and the ability to teach different categories of paramedical staff, in the context of their role in the health system and the practical outlook with which he conducted such training were much appreciated.
These contributors were recognized even internationally and his “guide book for paramedics.” Has been translated to Arabic. It would be true to say that he was a pioneer in post graduate medical education in Srilanka, specially in the field of Community Medicine when he played the leading role in the organization and conduct of the first ever post graduate course in Community Medicine. leading to the award of the degree,Master of Medical science by the University of Peradeniya.in 1972, years before the establishment of post graduate institute of Medicine.
He served as a member of board of study in community medicine of the post graduate programmes in community medicine. he was made valuable contribution in the curriculum development as teacher, examiner and a research supervisor.. He provided these services with great dedication and commitment for many years.His interest and contribution to the health research earned him personal satisfaction as well as recognition from his peers and students both in Srilanka and outside for nearly 14 years, he served as a consultant in health system research to the world health organization in many countries in Asia ans Africa.
His book “Learning Research” has had two editions and is widely used by both medical undergraduates and postgraduates. he has many publications to his credit his research students has much benefited from his experience and the simple clear manner which he guided them.
His talents go well beyond his academic contributions. He was written many Novels, Short stories and other books. Three of his novels have received Srilanka Shakithya academy award and the one novel received governor’s (NEP) award.
He has published 16 books in Tamil, on varied subjects.Preventive health for lay people, for children and too on spirituality and a handbook for teachers on Sri Sathya Sai education on human values.
For many years he participated in health programmes broadcast through mass media. He was also an actor performing in dramas and radios.During the early stage of Tamil film industry in Sri Lanka he acted in a lead role in Tamil film. He was a man of diverse capabilities. His excellence as a teacher, his commitment to the medical profession in general and community medicine in particular, the valuable contributions to the institutions in which he served and his attentions to detail,practical outlook in his relationship from persons from all walks of life made him an outstanding member of our profession.