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Capacity building through multi-disciplinary research: a report from Sri Lanka

  • Athula Sumathipala (a1), Sisira Siribaddana (a2), Sudath Samaraweera (a3) and D. A. R. K. Dayaratne (a4)
Extract

Sri Lanka is an island situated close to the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent with a land area of about 65 000 km2. The population in 2001 was 18.5 million. It has an interesting genetic diversity, its five main populations revealing both European and Asian origins. Although Sri Lanka is a developing country, it has strengths that other developing countries do not have, mainly in health and education. However, Sri Lanka lacks a research culture and has inadequacies in its research capabilities; hence, capacity building is essential. Based on our research findings, we plan to achieve this by working with professionals, statutory services, policy-makers and the public. Our model is international collaboration based on our own research agenda. Such partnerships can produce high-quality research, with greater influence on national policy and practice (Costello & Zumla, 2000).

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr A. Sumathipala, Section of Epidemiology and General Practice, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK. Tel: 020 7848 0149; e-mail: spjuats@iop.kcl.ac.uk
References
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Costello, A. & Zumla, A. (2000) Moving to research partnership in developing countries. BMJ, 32, 827829.
Patel, V. & Sumathipala, A. (2001) International representation in psychiatric literature. Survey of six leading journals. British Journal of Psychiatry, 178, 406409.
Simpson, B. (2001) Ethical regulation and the new reproductive technologies in Sri Lanka: perspectives of ethics committee members. Ceylon Medical Journal, 46, 5457.
Sumathipala, A. & Murray, J. (2000) New approach to translating instruments for cross-cultural research: a combined qualitative and quantitative approach for translations and consensus generation. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 9, 8795.
Sumathipala, A. & Siribaddana, S. H. (2003) Research Ethics from a Developing World Perspective. Colombo: Vijitha Yapa.
Sumathipala, A., Hewege, S., Hanwella, R., et al (2000 a) Randomised controlled trial of cognitive behaviour therapy for repeated consultations for medically unexplained complaints: a feasibility study in Sri Lanka. Psychological Medicine, 30, 747757.
Sumathipala, A., De Silva, N., Siribaddana, S. H., et al (2000 b) Cross cultural adaptation and preliminary validation of a zygosity determination questionnaire for twins in Sri Lanka. Twin Research, 3, 205212.
Sumathipala, A., Fernando, D. J. S., Siribaddana, S. H., et al (2000 c) Establishing a twin register in Sri Lanka. Twin Research, 3, 202205.
Sumathipala, A., Hewege, S., Hanwella, R., et al (2001a) Cognitive behavioural therapy reduced distress and visits in patients with medically unexplained symptoms. Evidence-Based Mental Health, 4, 22.
Sumathipala, A., Siribaddana, S. H., De Silva, N., et al (2001b) Feasibility of using birth records for recruiting younger twins to establishment of a population based register in Sri Lanka. Twin Research, 4, 459463.
Sumathipala, A., Siribaddana, S. H., De Silva, N., et al (2002) Sri Lankan Twin Registry. Twin Research, 5, 424426.
Sumathipala, A., Siribaddana, S. H., De Silva, N., et al (2003) Challenges in recruiting older twins for the Sri Lankan twin registry. Twin Research, 6, 6771.
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Capacity building through multi-disciplinary research: a report from Sri Lanka

  • Athula Sumathipala (a1), Sisira Siribaddana (a2), Sudath Samaraweera (a3) and D. A. R. K. Dayaratne (a4)
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eLetters

Need for evidence based culture in the third world

Dr Allen Bleven Kharbteng, Psychiatrist
26 November 2003

I read with keen interest the collaborative work to improve research in Sri Lanka in the field of Mental Health. From my previous experience ofworking with "The India Population Project" I am aware of the giant leaps Sri Lanka has made in terms of literacy and healthcare (the life expectancy and low infant mortality rate speak for themselves). This is therefore an appropriate place to stimulate the culture of evidence based medicine. In much of the third world there is a strong reliance on empirical and anecdotal evidence for treatments. I think that there is a strong argument that the field of psychiatry needs an evidence base even more critically with many treatments being controversial. I wish the team luck in their endeavor. ... More

Conflict of interest: None Declared

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