Jaffna, Sri Lanka

University of Jaffna

Jaffna, Sri Lanka

The University of Jaffna is a public university in the city of Jaffna in Sri Lanka. Established in 1974 as the sixth campus of the University of Sri Lanka, it became an independent, autonomous university in 1979. Like all public universities in Sri Lanka, UoJ receives the bulk of its funding from the University Grants Commission , part of the Ministry of Higher Education in Colombo. The UGC and the central government therefore exert a great deal of control over the university.UoJ has two campuses — the main campus in Thirunelvely in Jaffna and a second campus in Vavuniya. It also has facilities in Kilinochchi, Kaithady and Maruthanarmadam near Chunnakam. It has nine faculties and nine other academic centers. The university offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses that award degrees including BA, BBA, BBM, BCom, BFA, BICT, B.Pharm, BSc, BSc, BSc, BSc, LLB, MA, MEd, MBBS and MSc.The university had 5,721 students and 1,192 employees in 2011. It is the eighth largest university in Sri Lanka in student numbers. In 2010/11 the university admitted 1,581 undergraduates. UoJ had a recurrent budget of Rs. 827 million and a capital budget of Rs. 316 million in 2011. Its income in 2011 was Rs. 1,159 million of which 99% was grant from the government in Colombo.The chancellor and vice-chancellor are professors S. Pathmanathan and Vasanthy Arasaratnam respectively. UoJ is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities. Wikipedia.

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Somasundaram D.,University of Jaffna | Somasundaram D.,University of Adelaide
International Journal of Mental Health Systems | Year: 2013

Background: Individuals, families and communities in Northern Sri Lanka have undergone three decades of war trauma, multiple displacements, and loss of family, kin, friends, homes, employment and other valued resources. The objective of the study was understanding common psychosocial problems faced by families and communities, and the associated risk and protective factors, so that practical and effective community based interventions can be recommended to rebuild strengths, adaptation, coping strategies and resilience.Methods: This qualitative, ecological study is a psychosocial ethnography in post-war Northern Sri Lanka obtained through participant observation; case studies; key- informant interviews; and focus groups discussions with mental health and psychosocial community workers as well as literature survey of media and organizational reports. Qualitative analysis of the data used ethnography, case studies, phenomenology, grounded theory, hermeneutics and symbolic interactionism techniques. Quantitative data on suicide was collected for Jaffna and Killinochchi districts.Results: Complex mental health and psychosocial problems at the individual, family and community levels in a post-war context were found to impair recovery. These included unresolved grief; individual and collective trauma; insecurity, self-harm and suicides; poverty and unemployment; teenage and unwanted pregnancies; alcoholism; child abuse and neglect; gender based violence and vulnerability including domestic violence, widows and female headed-household, family conflict and separation; physical injuries and handicap; problems specific for children and elderly; abuse and/or neglect of elderly and disabled; anti-social and socially irresponsible behaviour; distrust, hopelessness, and powerlessness. Protective factors included families; female leadership and engagement; cultural and traditional beliefs, practices and rituals; and creative potential in narratives, drama and other arts. Risk factors that were impeding community rehabilitation and recovery included continuing military governance, depletion of social capital particularly lack of trust, hope and socio-economic opportunity structures for development that would engender a sense of collective efficacy.Conclusions: In view of the widespread trauma at the individual, family and collective levels, community based programmes to increase local awareness, knowledge and skills to deal with common mental health and psychosocial issues; and training of community level workers and others in basic mental health and psychosocial problem solving are recommended to rebuild family and community agency and resilience. The use of cultural practices and school based programmes would rekindle community processes. © 2013 Somasundaram and Sivayokan; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Velauthamurty K.,University of Jaffna
Der Pharmacia Lettre | Year: 2016

The Jaffna Peninsula is underlain by Miocene limestone that is considered to have appropriate aquifer properties for groundwater storage and discharge. The absence of perennial rivers or major water supply schemes to the Peninsula highlights the importance of groundwater as the predominant water resource for domestic, industrial and agricultural use. The Jaffna Peninsula has four main aquifer systems, namely Chunnakam (Valikamam area), Thenmaratchi, Vadamaratchi and Kayts, of which the Valikamam area is intensively cultivated in the Jaffna Peninsula. Groundwater can become contaminated, by many of the same pollutants that contaminate surface water. Pollution of groundwater occurs when contaminants are discharged or, deposited on, or leached from the land surface above the groundwater. Environmental contamination by petroleum hydrocarbons is the most common site contamination issue encountered by environmental professionals. Contamination of ground water can result in poor drinking water quality, loss of water supply, degraded surface water systems, high cleanup costs, and high costs for alternative water supplies, and/or potential health problems. Used oil and waste fuel have historically been released to the environment through burning, land filling and indiscriminant dumping, accidental spills and through use as a dust control agent on roads. Heavy metals such as chromium, copper, lead, manganese, nickel and zinc are commonly found in used lubricating oil from friction wear on engine parts and can influence the effect the waste has on human health. Sampling was done along the eight directions at the intersections of five concentric rings of 200 meter distance between with the center being close to the Chunnakam power plants. Hexane gravimetric method used to determine the Fat Oil and Grease (FOG) in this study. FOG was recorded in 40 wells. In each well water sample collected in the top as well in the bottom layer. From the results it was identified that only thirty two samples shows FOG is greater than 2 mg/L and forty eight samples shows FOG less than 2 mg/L. Water quality or suitability for use is judged on the potential severity of problems that can be expected to develop during long-term use. It is, therefore, essential to establish baseline information on water quality and availability to assist in long-term planning whilst ensuring the integrity of supply for the Jaffna Peninsula.

Ramasamy R.,University of Brunei Darussalam | Surendran S.N.,University of Jaffna
BMC Infectious Diseases | Year: 2011

Background: Vector-borne infectious diseases are a significant cause of human and animal mortality and morbidity. Modeling studies predict that changes in climate that accompany global warming will alter the transmission risk of many vector-borne infectious diseases in different parts of the world. Global warming will also raise sea levels, which will lead to an increase in saline and brackish water bodies in coastal areas. The potential impact of rising sea levels, as opposed to climate change, on the prevalence of vector-borne infectious diseases has hitherto been unrecognised.Presentation of the hypothesis: Mosquito species possessing salinity-tolerant larvae and pupae, and capable of transmitting arboviruses and parasites are found in many parts of the world. An expansion of brackish and saline water bodies in coastal areas, associated with rising sea levels, can increase densities of salinity-tolerant vector mosquitoes and lead to the adaptation of freshwater vectors to breed in brackish and saline waters. The breeding of non-mosquito vectors may also be influenced by salinity changes in coastal habitats. Higher vector densities can increase transmission of vector-borne infectious diseases in coastal localities, which can then spread to other areas.Testing the hypothesis: The demonstration of increases in vector populations and disease prevalence that is related to an expansion of brackish/saline water bodies in coastal areas will provide the necessary supportive evidence. However the implementation of specific vector and disease control measures to counter the threat will confound the expected findings.Implications of the hypothesis: Rising sea levels can act synergistically with climate change and then interact in a complex manner with other environmental and socio-economic factors to generate a greater potential for the transmission of vector-borne infectious diseases. The resulting health impacts are likely to be particularly significant in resource-poor countries in the tropics and semi-tropics. Some measures to meet this threat are outlined. © 2011 Ramasamy and Surendran; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Christy Jeyaseelan E.,University of Jaffna | Justin Jashothan P.T.,University of Jaffna
Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine | Year: 2012

Objective: To evaluate antibacterial activity of hot and cold ethanol and methanol leaf extracts of Ricinus communis L (R. communis) against Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) (NCTC 6571) and Escherichia coli (E. coli) (ATCC 25922). Methods: Leaf powder of R. communis L. was extracted with hot (in Soxhlet) and cold ethanol and methanol, separately. The antibacterial activity of the extracts was determined by agar well diffusion and macro broth dilution methods. The extracts were also subjected to phytochemical analysis. Results: All the four test extracts showed inhibition on both S. aureus and E. coli. Hot and cold ethanol extracts revealed significantly (P < 0.05) higher inhibition on S. aureus than methanol extracts, and the hot ethanol extract had the lowest minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) values (5 mg/mL and 10 mg/mL, respectively). E. coli was highly inhibited by hot extracts of both ethanol and methanol with the MIC and MBC of 40 mg/mL and 80 mg/mL, respectively. Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of saponins, cardiac glycosides, tannins, flavonoids and terpenoids in all test extracts. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the hot and cold methanol and ethanol extracts are potential sources for control of S. aureus and E. coli. Especially, the hot and cold extracts of ethanol are more inhibitive against S. aureus even at lower concentration. Further study is needed to identify the specific bioactive compounds, their mode of action and their nontoxic nature in vivo condition. © 2012 Asian Pacific Tropical Biomedical Magazine.

Ramasamy R.,University of Brunei Darussalam | Surendran S.N.,University of Jaffna
Frontiers in Physiology | Year: 2012

Global climate change can potentially increase the transmission of mosquito vector-borne diseases such as malaria, lymphatic filariasis, and dengue in many parts of the world. These predictions are based on the effects of changing temperature, rainfall, and humidity on mosquito breeding and survival, the more rapid development of ingested pathogens in mosquitoes and the more frequent blood feeds at moderately higher ambient temperatures. An expansion of saline and brackish water bodies (water with <0.5 ppt or parts per thousand, 0.5-30 ppt and >30 ppt salt are termed fresh, brackish, and saline respectively) will also take place as a result of global warming causing a rise in sea levels in coastal zones. Its possible impact on the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases has, however, not been adequately appreciated. The relevant impacts of global climate change on the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases in coastal zones are discussed with reference to the Ross-McDonald equation and modeling studies. Evidence ispresented toshow that an expansion of brackish water bodies in coastal zones can increase the densities of salinity-tolerant mosquitoes like Anopheles sundaicus and Culex sitiens, and lead to the adaptation of fresh water mosquito vectors like Anopheles culicifacies, Anopheles stephensi, Aedes aegypti, and Aedes albopictus to salinity. Rising sea levels may therefore act synergisti-cally with global climate change to increase the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases in coastal zones. Greater attention therefore needs to be devoted to monitoring disease incidence and preimaginal development of vector mosquitoes in artificial and natural coastal brackish/saline habitats. It is important that national and international health agencies are aware of the increased risk of mosquito-borne diseases in coastal zones and develop preventive and mitigating strategies. Application of appropriate counter measures can greatly reduce the potential for increased coastal transmission of mosquito-borne diseases consequent to climate change and a rise in sea levels. It is proposed that the Jaffna peninsula in Sri Lanka may be a useful case study for the impact of rising sea levels on mosquito vectors in tropical coasts. © 2012 Ramasamy and Surendran.

Surendran S.N.,University of Jaffna | Ramasamy R.,University of Brunei Darussalam
Tropical Medicine and Health | Year: 2010

Anopheles culicifacies, the major vector of malaria in Sri Lanka, and An. subpictus, a secondary vector, exist as species complexes in the country. Among the globally reported five sibling species (A-E) of the An. culicifacies complex, only species B and E have been detected in Sri Lanka. However, all four sibling species (A-D) of the An. subpictus complex present globally are found in Sri Lanka. This article reviews the data on the characteristics of the sibling species of these two main malaria vectors in Sri Lanka and methods for differentiating them, and highlights the importance of understanding the bio-ecological variations among the sibling species in order to develop an effective vector control program in the country. It is proposed that An. culicifacies species E may have evolved from species B in Sri Lanka and then spread to South India. The development of DNA probes suitable for differentiating the sibling species of An. culicifacies and An. subpictus in field studies is identified as a particular priority for future work. © 2010 by The Japanese Society of Tropical Medicine.

Somasundaram D.,University of Jaffna
International Journal of Mental Health Systems | Year: 2010

Background: From January to May, 2009, a population of 300,000 in the Vanni, northern Sri Lanka underwent multiple displacements, deaths, injuries, deprivation of water, food, medical care and other basic needs caught between the shelling and bombings of the state forces and the LTTE which forcefully recruited men, women and children to fight on the frontlines and held the rest hostage. This study explores the long term psychosocial and mental health consequences of exposure to massive, existential trauma.Methods: This paper is a qualitative inquiry into the psychosocial situation of the Vanni displaced and their ethnography using narratives and observations obtained through participant observation; in depth interviews; key informant, family and extended family interviews; and focus groups using a prescribed, semi structured open ended questionnaire.Results: The narratives, drawings, letters and poems as well as data from observations, key informant interviews, extended family and focus group discussions show considerable impact at the family and community. The family and community relationships, networks, processes and structures are destroyed. There develops collective symptoms of despair, passivity, silence, loss of values and ethical mores, amotivation, dependency on external assistance, but also resilience and post-traumatic growth.Conclusions: Considering the severity of family and community level adverse effects and implication for resettlement, rehabilitation, and development programmes; interventions for healing of memories, psychosocial regeneration of the family and community structures and processes are essential. © 2010 Somasundaram; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Pirasath S.,University of Jaffna
The Ceylon medical journal | Year: 2010

Determination of the glycaemic index (GI) of different basic foods in combination with different curries. METHODS; Healthy volunteers (n = 20) of 21.05 (+/- 0.92) years old, 53.90 (+/- 9.36) kg in body weight, 153.92 (+/- 9.15) cm in height and 20.55 (+/- 2.22) kgm(-2) of body mass index were included. After overnight fasting, 75g of glucose and each test food containing 75g of digestible carbohydrate were administered and blood glucose level measured half hourly for two hours. The GI was calculated and analysed by randomised complete block design using SAS analytical package. The mean GI values of parboiled rice ('Mottaikarupan') either with green leaf curry (Amaranthus) or gravy (soya meat) or green leaf curry and gravy were 47.47 (+/- 11.21), 56.30 (+/- 9.31) and 54.67 (+/- 10.03) % respectively. The mean GI of 'kurakkan pittu' (Eleucine coracana) with the above curries were 57.51 (+/- 5.52), 63.25 (+/- 8.86) and 59.25 (+/- 5.49) % respectively. The mean GI of 'atta pittu' (whole wheat grain flour) with the above curries were 44.40 (+/-14.27), 50.80 (+/- 9.35) and 46.29 (+/- 8.90) % respectively. The GI of parboiled rice or 'kurakkan pittu' or 'atta pittu' with green leaf curry differed significantly (p < 0.05) from other combined foods. The GI of parboiled rice or 'kurakkan pittu' or 'atta pittu' with gravy or green leaf curry and gravy did not differ significantly (p > 0.05) among them. 'Kurakkan pittu' is inferior to 'atta pittu' and parboiled rice. Including curries to basic foods altered the GI. Therefore, when dietary advice is given to diabetic patients, not only the basic foods, but also the curries to be consumed have to be considered.

Sasikaran S.,University of Jaffna
The Ceylon medical journal | Year: 2012

People rely on the quality of the bottled drinking water, expecting it to be free of microbial contamination and health hazards. To evaluate the quality of bottled drinking water sold in Jaffna peninsula by analysing the physical, chemical and microbial contents and comparing with the recommended Sri Lankan Standard (SLS) values. All bottled water samples sold in Jaffna peninsula were collected. Electrical conductivity, total dissolved solid, pH, calcium, nitrate, total aerobic and anaerobic count, coliform bacterial count and faecal contamination were checked. These are 22 brands of bottled drinking water sold in Jaffna peninsula. The sample had very low electrical conductivity when compared with SLS (750 μS/ cm) and varied from 19 to 253 μS/cm with the mean of 80.53 (±60.92) μS/cm. The pH values of the bottled drinking water brands varied from 4.11 to 7.58 with a mean of 6.2 (±0.75). The total dissolved solid content of the bottled drinking water brands varied from 9 to 123.67 mg/l with a mean of 39.5 (±30.23) mg/l. The calcium content of the bottled drinking water brands varied from 6.48 to 83.77 mg/l with a mean of 49.9 (±25.09) mg/l. The nitrate content of the bottled drinking water brands varied from 0.21 to 4.19 mg/l with the mean of 1.26 (±1.08) mg/l. Aerobic bacterial count varied from 0 to 800 colony forming unit per ml (cfu/ml) with a mean of 262.6 (±327.50) cfu/ml. Among the 22 drinking bottled water brands 14 and 9% of bottled drinking water brands showed fungal and coliform bacterial contaminants respectively. The water brands which contained faecal contamination had either Escherichia coli or Klebsiella spp. The bottled drinking water available for sale do not meet the standards stipulated by SLS.

Anopheles subpictus s.l., an important malaria vector in Sri Lanka, is a complex of four morphologically identified sibling species A-D. Species A-D reportedly differ in bio-ecological traits that are important for vector control. We investigated possible variations that had not been reported previously, in the susceptibility to common insecticides and resistance mechanisms among the An. subpictus sibling species. Adult An. subpictus were collected from localities in four administrative districts in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. Single female isoprogeny lines were established and sibling species status determined according to reported egg morphology. World Health Organization's standard protocols were used for insecticide bioassays and biochemical assays to determine insecticide susceptibility and resistance mechanisms. Susceptibility of mosquitoes was tested against DDT (5%), malathion (4%), deltamethrin (0.05%) and λ-cyhalothrin (0.05%). Biochemical basis for resistance was determined through assaying for esterase, glutathione-S-transferase and monooxygenase activities and the insensitivity of acetycholinesterase (AChE) to propoxur inhibition. All sibling species were highly resistant to DDT. However there were significant differences among the sibling species in their susceptibility to the other tested insecticides. Few species A could be collected for testing, and where testing was possible, species A tended to behave more similarly to species C and D than to B. Species B was more susceptible to all the tested insecticides than the other sibling species. This difference may be attributed to the predominance of species B in coastal areas where selection pressure due to indoor residual spraying of insecticides (IRS) was lower. However there were significant differences between the more inland species C and D mainly towards pyrethroids. Higher GST activities in species C and D might have contributed to their greater DDT resistance than species B. Malathion resistance in both species C and D may be caused by elevated GST activity and an altered insensitive target site in AChE. In addition, a carboxylesterase based malathion resistance mechanisms was also detected in species C and D. Elevated esterase levels in species C and D might have contributed to the low levels of pyrethroid resistance. However an absence of elevated activity of monooxygenases in species B, C and D indicates that monooxygenases are unlikely to be the cause of this partial resistance to pyrethroids. The differences in insecticide susceptibility and insecticide resistance mechanism shown by An. subpictus sibling species are important considerations for developing the malaria control and eradication program in Sri Lanka. Similar studies on species complexes of other anopheline vectors of malaria are necessary for effective malaria control worldwide. The differential susceptibility findings are also consistent with most, if not all, morphologically identified An. subpictus species B in Sri Lanka belonging to the An. sundaicus complex. There is a need therefore to develop molecular techniques that can be used to differentiate morphologically similar anopheline species in field conditions for more effective vector control.

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