Batchmate in the news

Dr Lakshman Senanayake.Educates and debunks the canards.Well done.!

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Infertility pill myth: Resounding rejection in all three languages by 13 top medical specialists

Vow to speak up in future against any misrepresentation or rumour in connection with anything and everything medical

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Absolutely false – there are no wanda pethi (infertility pills), gels or powders which can cause long-term infertility so far in the world, let alone in Sri Lanka.

This was the resounding rejection not just from one top Medical Specialist but from 13 of them, coordinated by Consultant Physician Dr. Upul Dissanayake at a media briefing on Thursday.

Crowding the podium of the auditorium of the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA), these Medical Specialists flexed their powerful muscles and vowed to speak up in future against any misrepresentation or rumour in connection with anything and everything medical.

The SLMA and the Ceylon College of Physicians (CCP), two major organizations linked to the medical field, would look into the possibility of initiating a mechanism to respond promptly to clarify issues and alleviate the doubts of the public whenever medical misconceptions are set afloat, assured SLMA’s President-elect and Consultant Physician Dr. Anula Wijesundara and CCP President Dr. Panduka Karunanayake who were among the group of 13.

The wanda-pethi canard which spread like wildlife and got into the psyche of Sri Lankans, led to the recent troubles in Ampara over the belief that such pills were being mixed with food at eateries.

Taking the myth of wanda-pethi in their vice-like grip, the group made strong statements in all three languages, debunking it and dispelling any fears that may have arisen due it. The Sinhala statement was read out by Consultant Endocrinologist and Specialist in Reproductive Health, Prof. Chandrika Wijeyaratne, the Tamil one by Consultant Paediatrician and Professor in Pharmacology, Prof. Shalini Sri Ranganathan, and the English one by Consultant Physician and Professor of Pharmacology, Prof. Chandanie Wanigatunge.

Many senior doctors were also in the audience at the tightly-packed media briefing and a document signed, as of that day, by 132 medical professionals, senior and junior, cutting across all specialties and all races, Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim, with assurances that more would be joining in, was distributed to the journalists.

The others in the group of 13 Medical Specialists were Consultant Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Dr. Lakshman Senanayake and Dr. U.D.P Ratnasiri; Consultant Rheumatologist Dr. Lalith Wijayaratne; Consultant Cardiologist Dr. Naomali Amarasena; Consultant Paediatrician Dr. LakKumar Fernando; Consultant Physician Dr. Priyankara Jayawardena; and Consultant Community Physician, Dr. Kapila Jayaratne.

Getting down to the details of how a baby is conceived following the fertilization of the woman’s ovum (egg) by the man’s sperm, Dr. Upul Dissanayake told the Sunday Times that there are only certain methods of contraception to stop fertilization.

These methods of contraception which prevent natural fertilization include:

  •  The pill – this comes in the form of ‘Mithuru’ pethi (pills). This is hormonal contraception and is a combined Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP) containing derivatives of the female hormone Oestrogen and Progestin in low doses. Prescribed to women by doctors to be taken daily to avoid a pregnancy, when a woman stops taking the pill, she can get pregnant. As such the effects of the pill are reversible.
  •  The injection – this comes in the form of the Depo Provera injection which is also hormonal contraception, once again administered to women and is reversible.
  •  An implant or intra-uterine device – this is inserted into the uterus (womb) through the vagina of the woman. It prevents the fertilized ovum getting implanted on the uterine wall. This is also reversible, for when the device is removed, a pregnancy can occur.
  •  Tubal ligation – this is a surgical procedure in which the fallopian tubes of the woman are cut, tied or blocked to permanently prevent pregnancy by stopping the eggs released from the ovaries going through the fallopian tubes. This method also blocks the sperm from travelling up the fallopian tubes to the egg. This is permanent.
  •  Use of condoms – these are sheath-shaped ‘barrier’ devices worn by the man during sexual intercourse to prevent a pregnancy in the woman. When the use of condoms stops, the woman can get pregnant.
  •  Vasectomy – this is a male sterilization procedure performed surgically. In this permanent procedure, the small tubes in the man’s scrotum that carry sperm are cut or blocked. This prevents the man from impregnating the woman during sexual intercourse. This procedure is permanent.

The Sunday Times learns that sub-fertility issues in both men and women are numerous not only in Sri Lanka but across the world. With women securing higher educational qualifications and having careers, marriage and bearing children get postponed. This makes the biological clock tick on. Even men should not leave it too late, is what sexual health specialists urge.
Meanwhile, the risks of male sub-fertility include:

  •  Obesity
  •  Smoking
  •  Alcohol abuse
  •  Drugs, both medical and recreational, as also exposure to gonadotoxins from the environment and occupation.
  •  The use of laptop computers on the lap and cell phones and stress, have also been implicated as probable ‘causative’ factors.

Many environmental contaminants can affect reproductive health, it is understood, and act as ‘endocrine-disrupting chemicals’ which could affect hormones in the human body.
The examples oft cited are:

 

  •  Bisphenol A (BPA) — found in hard plastic, water and baby bottles, food containers, the lining of metal, food and drink cans, pacifiers and baby toys and dental sealants
  •  Phthalates — a family of chemicals utilized to soften plastics used in medical devices, food wrap, flooring, wall coverings, personal care products (perfumes, lotions, cosmetics and hair-spray), lacquers, varnishes and wood finishes and coatings.
  •  Recently melamine has also been implicated in reproductive and urinary disorders.

11 thoughts on “Batchmate in the news

  1. I have high respect for Laksmen’s ability & knowledge. He is a well respected genuinely hard working batch mate and a friend. He deserve to be honoured.
    As this video has no sub title & I am one of those who cannot understand high standard Sinhalese, can someone translate his speech.
    Even without understanding the speech, I like to congratulate him for all what he has achieved for Srilankan O&G
    Seelan

    Like

  2. Piching and I just returned from a 12 day Yangtze River cruise (total of 14 ) days in China. As some of you may know Google is banned in China. I did not receive any g mail in China , therefore my inability to respond to some of the items placed on our web page.

    Seelan let me try to explain to you what Lucky and the the other physician was trying to explain to the public at the gathering.

    It appears that people are under the impression that there is a a “ magic “ pill in developed countries to help infertility in both women and men. Perhaps the crowd wanted to know whether this pill is available in Sri Lanka.

    Lucky explained to the crowd that smoking , excess consumption of alcohol would have an effect on infertility in both men and women. Men are engaged in hard work , working long hours wearing tight garments . may have an effect on infertility especially in men.

    The other physician explained to the crowd that there is no magic pill available to improve infertility as yet although the research has been going on abroad for the past thirty years . This is just a gist of the conversations that transpired.

    I shall respond to the the other items on our web page when I go home tomorrow. I am in Washington DC right now.

    Nisantha

    Like

    • Welcome back Nisantha. Hope you had a wonderful trip.
      Just to elaborate on your response to seelan, it appears there was some false properganda on social media by certain extremist groups regarding an incident claiming a Muslim restaurant offering drug tainted Kotthu to Sinhalese people in order to supress fertility. This resulted in awful riots in Kandy, and loss of life. It is nice to see medical leadership speaking out to supress these vicious racist groups and educate the public. Enough is enough.

      Like

  3. Well done Lakshmen. It is important the medical experts speak out to counter the false propaganda that is circulating in our country with the vicious and ulterior motive of causing communal tension, probably for some people to achieve political aims.
    CJ

    Like

  4. Hi Lakshman,
    I wish to congratulate you on the outstanding presentation, you made to explain the current myth?You addressed the subject with precision,and openness , allowing the public to understand the subject better.

    Like

  5. Thanks Nisantha , CJ and Sam for explaining briefly the post about Lakshman .The video clip is from the Daily Mirror of 16th March. I am not sure who initiated this discussion on national TV but it was almost 2 weeks after the incident in Ampara on the night of 4 March.For quite sometime now the extremist Sinhala groups have been targetting the Muslims with canards about them selling sweets and undergarments laced with sterilising medications etc leading to what was believed a concerted Muslim action to reduce the Sinhala population!!.This culminated in the racially motivated riots in Ampara against the muslims., when a few lumpy particles were found in food in a Muslim hotel(New Cassim hotel).The manager ? confessed to adding ” Wandha Pethi” when he really thought he was admitting to adding “Pitti”,(flour) which is a common occurence in hotels.i.e the addition of flour to thicken the gravy.The riot that followed resulted in damage to a few muslim businesses and a mosque. After a few days the mayhem continued in the Kandy district after an altercation between a muslim 3 wheel driver and a Sinhala lorry driver, an incident related to obstruction of the road.?road rage. The assault resulted in the death of the Sinhala driver in hospital a week later.This was followed by the organised mayhem in Theldeniya and other suburbs of Kandy.In the clip , Lakshman and others are trying to explain that there is no medications yet available to cause permanent subfertility in the male or the female.They are trying to debunk the circulating canard.Lakshman, has done a great service and he should be admired for it.
    In this context , I am reminded of Martin Niemoller (1892-1984)
    He was a prominent protestant pastor during the Nazi regime and he believed that the protestant church was complicit in their silence in the Nazi persecution of millions of Jews.He became a public outspoken foe of the Nazi regime and spent 7 years in concentration camps.The following are his words on reflection of the past.
    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-Because I was not a socialist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out-because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew,
    Then, they came for me- and there was no one left to speak for me.!!
    These are difficult times and our beautiful home is burning with hate.
    Surely, we can do better. Eddie.

    Like

    • Brilliant Lakshman, for coming forward at this crucial time in our country to debunk myths and reassure the

      masses in a manner they understand only you can do with such brilliance.

      Having once had the opportunity to join in one of your educational projects, I realised how skilled you are

      In addressing the masses on vital social and health issues and the respect and devotion with which people

      listen to you and I felt very elated and proud.

      Your immense contributions on health education is welknown.

      You are a great son of Sri Lanka and you bring immense pride to our medical school and the batch.

      Ariya

      Like

  6. Dear Nisantha, Sam, Eddie,CJ, Ariya & Rani,

    Thanks for the translating & summarizing the speech by Lakshmen and for explaining the cause of the riots. When we were in Malaysia, we heard about the riots but no details.

    It is now pretty clear to me that some Radicals are behind the riots, but very scary for people like us.

    Last time – Riots in Beruwala just before our 2014 RU. Now this – before our 2018 RU !

    People like Lakshmen are working hard to eliminate this but when will the radical learn & stop this non sense?

    Congratulations, Lakshmen. Please keep your Good work going so that the people affected (all races) can live in PEACE.

    Seelan

    Like

  7. Alas!

    In a country the myth easily spreads than the truth

    Politicians are corrupted up to their very last tooth

    Religion is used to divide & not to unite the masses

    Floods, droughts, famines & disasters are God’s gifts

    Ariya

    Like

  8. My dear Seelan,

    While you were hibernating in Malaysia, charging your batteries

    The ‘64 web, missed your sharp, decisive and meaningful inputs

    For religious and racial harmony Sri Lankan’s needn’t look too far

    Our batch, a fragrant tree, bearing many different colours of roses

    Ariya

    Like

  9. Congratulations Lakshman. You are one dedicated to the truth and in your quiet and unassuming way stands up for what is right.We are proud to count you as a close friend.
    Sam, your blog carried the news before The Sunday Times. Congratulations to the Master for the news scoop!
    Narme

    Like

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