It was a challenge to host this international event in Sri Lanka during the COVID pandemic and economic crisis tinged my presidency. I took a well calculated challenge and executed meticulously to achieve the objectives.

The Silver Jubilee of the South Asian Federation of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (SAFOG) was successfully held in association with the 55th Annual Scientific Conference of the Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (SLCOG) under the theme “Enhancing Women’s health with Regional & Global partnership”. The congress was held at Hotel Shangri-La, Colombo spanning over three days 30th September to 2nd October 2022. This mega congress was attended by more than 500+ overseas delegates including 60+ faculty and academics.

Pre-Congress workshops

In association to the main congress, ten pre congress workshops were organized on various subject lines to educated special target groups in medical field. Pre congress workshops were arranged on following areas;

  • Optimizing safety in Labour
  • Tips of laparoscopic suturing
  • Novel Avenues of Advanced Gynaecology Laparoscopy - Live Workshop
  • Respectful Maternity Care
  • Elimination of cervical cancer
  • Jeevandhara Sri Lanka-Redefining Postpartum Haemmorhage Management
  • USS on Fetal Medicine
  • Vaginal Surgery; what’s new? Handling difficult situations
  • Training of Master Trainers on PPH Em Response using Bundle approach
  • ICOE SAFOG Complicated Ceasarean workshop

Academic Programme

The academic session was comprised of four prestigious orations and one endowment lecture

  • Dr Rohana Haththotuwa inaugural oration
  • Dr D A Ranasinghe oration
  • SAFOG Oration
  • Prof Rashid Latif Khan Oration
  • Dr P Dissanayake Endowment Lecture

The orator for the inaugural Dr Rohana Haththotuwa oration was Prof Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran who spoked on the topic “Leadership of Professional Organizations” referring to Dr Rohana Haththotuwa’s life story.

The SAFOG oration was done by Prof Farrukh Zaman on “Women's Health - Are We Doing Enough in South Asia"

The academic programme also comprised of 5 plenary lectures, 15 international symposia and 60 guest lectures. The free paper session published 96 oral presentations, 79 E posters and eight SAFOG YGA winners from four national societies and 5 SLCOG YGA nominations. The programme spanned over three days giving extreme academic familiarity to a large no. of gathering.

Plenary Lectures

No.01 (Day 01) - "Molecular basis of Diabetes." by Prof Pradeep De Silva, Immediate past president of SLCOG

No.02 (Day 02) - “What have we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and what should we do next?" By Prof. Kazunori Ochiai, Immediate past president of AOFOG

No.03 (Day 02) - "Cesarean Section rates In South Asia- A tragedy; what can SAFOG do?” by Dr. Rohana Haththotuwa, President of SAFOG

No.04 (Day 03) - “Strengthening resolve: “Leading a Global Impact on Reproductive Freedom” by Dr. Jeanne Conry, FIGO President (Virtual)

No.05 (Day 03) - "Women's rights to safe and affordable health care" by Prof Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran

International Symposia

International symposiums were done by FIGO, AOFOG , UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, RANZCOG, Gestosis society. National Societies of SAFOG , FOGSI,OGSB, & SOGP, and the SAFOG Maternal & Perinatal health committee also conducted sessions.

1 (FOGSI Session) "Place of vaginal surgery in the era of laparoscopy" - Dr. Kawita Bapat, V.P. FOGSI "Liver disorders in Pregnancy" - Dr. Bipin Pandit, V. P. FOGSI "ART of communications of adverse outcomes in Obstetric practice" - Dr. Madhuri Patel

SYMPOSIUM 2 (O & G Society of Malaysia) – “ICOG Virtual Training of Trainers for SAFOG: The background and lessons learnt?” - Dr Thaneemalai Jeganathan, “Analysis of Virtual Training of Trainers” - Dr Yong Soon Leong (Panel Discussion; Open access and collaboration - the impetus for Obstetric training)

SYMPOSIUM 3 (UNICEF Session) "THINK NUTRITION FIRST" “Preparing adolescents for wellness ; think nutrition first” - Prof Rowshan Ara Begum, “Managing GDM with Medical nutrition therapy” - Dr Hema Divakar, “Post-delivery advice on Nutrition ; new mom new baby” - Dr Farhana Deewan “Call to action for Obstetricians & Gynaecologists ; Think nutrition first” - Dr Abner Elkan Daniel

SYMPOSIUM 4 (SAFOG Maternal & Perinatal Health committee) SAVING MOTHERS & BABIES - LEARNING FROM LARGE MULTICENTER STUDIES Honorable Guests - Prof Rashid L Khan, Prof T A Chowdhury, Prof Ganesh Dangal “E MOTIVE STUDY- Designing and Implementing a large Multicenter study” - Prof. Lumaan Sheikh (Virtual), “The WOMAN 1 Study” - Prof Ian Roberts (Virtual), “External Quality Audit in PREVENT study” - Dr Rupsa Banerjee

SYMPOSIUM 5 (UNFPA Session) "Intimate Partner Violence in Pregnancy" “Intimate partner Violence (IPV) : An Overview” - Dr Lakshmen Senanayake, “IPV in pregnancy: Devastating consequences” - Dr. Sarada Hemapriya, “Lessons learnt in addressing IPV: Experiences from India” - Dr. Shantha Kumari, President FOGSI “Lessons learnt in addressing IPV: Experiences from Thailand” - Prof. Unnop Jaisamrarn “Lessons learnt in addressing IPV: Experiences from Sri Lanka” - Dr.Nettanjali Mapitigama

SYMPOSIUM 6 (MANYATA ; Panel Discussion) Panelists: Dr. Shanta Kumari, Dr. H.D. Pai, Dr. Jaideep Malhotra, Dr. Samita Bharadwaj, Dr. Suranjan Prasad, Dr. Rubina Sohail, Dr. Ferdosi Begum, Dr. Asma Rana, Srilanka Representative: Dr. Nishendra Karunaratne Moderators: Dr. Narendra Malhotra, Ms. Pompy Sridhar

SYMPOSIUM 7 (OGSB Session) “OGSB in leadership: MMR reduction” - Prof. Ferdousi Begum, “OGSB in combat: COVID-19” - Prof. Gulshan Ara, “OGSB in advancement: Infertility” - Prof. Parveen Fatima, “OGSB in Quality Improvement: Monitoring & Mentoring” - Prof. Farahana Dewan, “OGSB in Empowerment: Women’s Rights” - Prof. Rowshan Ara Begum

SYMPOSIUM 8 (AOFOG Session) "Evidence based SRH care" “Bringing evidence into SRH practice” - Professor Unnop Jaisamrarn, “Thailand Contraception in women with medical conditions” - Professor Krishnendu Gupta, “India Benefits beyond birth control of contraceptive methods” - Assistant Professor Susan Logan (Virtual) – Singapore

SYMPOSIUM 9 (FIGO Session) Welcome and Opening Remarks – Dr Jeanne Conry (virtual) “Violence against women and its impact on women’s health” -Shantha Kumari, “Violence in conflict situations” - Dr Rubina Sohail, “The Red Line initiative” - Dr Jeanne Conry “Respectful care for all women” - Dr Jaideep Malhotra “Improving the health and Quality of Life of Women” - Dr Hema Divakar (virtual) General Discussion

SYMPOSIUM 10 (UNICEF Session) "Can improvements in maternal nutrition lead to reductions in LBW in Sri Lanka?" “Trends in Low birthweight and programmatic approaches to LBW reduction” – Dr Sanjeeva S.P.Godakandage, NPM Maternal Care, FHB “Evidence on programmatic pathways to address the issue of stagnant LBW; role of maternal nutrition” – Dr Abner Daniel, Chief of Health and Nutrition, “UNICEF Sri Lanka Role of the obstetrician in LBW reduction” – Prof Tiran D Dias

SYMPOSIUM 11 (WHO Session) "Countdown to 2030: tracking progress towards reaching SDG targets in maternal mortality reduction" “Are we on track? Global & Regional targets and actions in reducing maternal mortality”- Dr Anoma Jayathilaka, “Country Progress & Challenges in achieving SDG targets in maternal mortality and Still Births in a Low mortality setting” - Dr. Harendra Dasanayaka FHB, MOH “Role of obstetricians in reaching maternal and newborn health targets in a country” - Dr Harsha Atapattu

SYMPOSIUM 12 (FIGO SAFOG Session) - "Women’s Health in Crisis Situations" Moderator; Dr Asifa Noreen Pakistan “floods, Climate change and women in crises” - Prof Rubina Sohail “Protecting autonomy of Rohingya women in sexual & reproductive health” - Prof Sameena Chowdhry “Devastating effects of Srilankan economic crises on vulnerable populations” - Prof Sanath Lanerolle

SYMPOSIUM 13 (SOGP Session) Moderator ; Prof Tazeen Abbas "Strategies to reduce MMR in the region" “Prevention and management of PPH a leading cause of MMR in the region” - Prof. General Shehla Baqai, “Prevention and management of eclampsia evidence based practice” - Prof. Shabeen Naz, “Strategies to prevent and treat placenta increta, can we save the uterus?” - Prof. Arshad Chohan “Sociodemographic characteristics and Three Delays of Maternal Mortality” - Prof. Rubina Sohail Panelists; Prof Aisha Siddiqua | Prof Aisha Malik | Prof Roshan Ara Qazi | Prof Shahida Sheikh |Prof Sadia Pal | Prof Zahida Parveen

SYMPOSIUM 14 (WHO Session) "Accelerating the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem: Towards achieving 90–70–90 targets by 2030" “Are we on track to deliver 2030 targets? Global targets & Regional actions in reaching 90-70-90 targets by 2030 in post COVID era” - Dr Anoma Jayathilaka, “WHO framework for strengthening and scaling-up services for the management of invasive cervical cancer and providing palliative care” - Dr. Cherian Varghese (Virtual), “WHO recommondation on screening and treatment of precancerous lesion in cervical cancer” - Dr Ruchi Pathek (virtual), “Practical constraints on achieving elimination of cervical cancer 90-70-90 targets by 2030: practical implications in a country situation” - Dr. Suraj Perera

SYMPOSIUM 15 (RANZCOG Session) (Via ZOOM) Coordinator on behalf of RANZCOG & SLCOG; Dr Hasthika Ellepola “RANZCOG Strategic Plan” - Dr. Hasthika Ellepola “The National Preterm Birth Prevention Program in Australia” - Dr. Christoph Lehner

The congress was enriched by the colourful Inaugural ceremony which was followed by the reception on the 1st day of the congress and the Gala dinner on the 2nd day of the congress which was enjoyed by all.

At the inaugural ceremony, Dr Rohana Haththotuwa was officially inducted as the new President of the SAFOG. The president medal was presented to the new President by the immediate past president Prof Ferdousi Begum.

Three honorary fellowships were conferred to three senior distinguished Past presidents of SAFOG at the inauguration. Prof. Alokendu Chatterjee from India, Prof. Rashid Latif Khan from Pakistan and Prof. T A Chowdhury from Bangladesh

Further, SLCOG fellowships were presented to fifteen members of SLCOG who had successfully contributed to college activities over 12 years.

Another memorable event which took place at the inauguration was the launching of the book “SAFOG over the years” complied by Prof Rubina Sohail,Past President SAFOG as a Silver jubilee celebration souvenir. The very first copy was handed over to Dr Rohana Haththotuwa by Prof Sohail.

Also the book on the Biography of Dr Rohana Haththotuwa compiled & edited by Prof Lanerolle and published by the SLCOG was released.

SAFOG council meeting was also held with the participation of all the council members prior to the inauguration ceremony.

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to SOGP for sending the largest number of participants and also to FOGSI, OGSB ,NESOG & AFSOG for sending delegates to the conference in the difficult times.

Finally, I take this opportunity to thank Prof Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran and Dr Rohana Haththotuwa (President SAFOG) for their unstinted support extended to me in organizing the 55th Annual Academic conference in collaboration with the Silver Jubilee of SAFOG.

Contribution of Prof Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran to the SLCOG during the year 2022 was enormous. He was the driving force behind the success of 55th Annual Academic Session with abled support from Dr Rohana Haththotuwa. Prof Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran YGA award given to SLCOG members is been awarded annually. He served as the international advisor for the silver jubilee organizing committee and if not his effort the event would not have been a reality. On behalf of the council and the members I greatly appreciate him.

Prof. Sanath Lanerolle


Clinical Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
President - Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists
Immediate Past-President of the Perinatal Society of Sri Lanka
Past-President of the Menopause Society of Sri Lanka
Honorary Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo
Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Castle Street Hospital for Women (Teaching)