“Since its inception in 2019, Lanka Hospitals Academy (LHA) has been indispensable in the growth of the healthcare workforce of Sri Lanka,” stated Dr. Lasantha Karunasekara – Deputy Chief Executive Officer & Director Medical Services of The Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC. Here he discussed LHA’s vision to produce healthcare professionals with the necessary exposure and skill set to compete and excel both on a local and global scale. 

“LHA’s programmes are designed to offer comprehensive training to students in both theoretical and practical aspects,” said Dr. Karunasekara. LHA offers clinical training within Lanka Hospitals’ premises in a fully-equipped clinical setting that serves as an essential requirement to train healthcare professionals. Full-time and part-time courses are offered to school leavers, graduate students, and others who intend to pursue a career in the healthcare industry.

The Diploma in Hospital and Community Pharmacy, Certificate course in Pharmacy Practice, Certificate Course in Phlebotomy, First Aid and Basic Life Support and Caregiver Training are some programmes among many others offered by LHA. In addition to these, other tailor-made training programmes are developed for leading national organisations on request.

Meanwhile, the Observership Programme is popular among students. This is available for students who have completed their G.C.E Advanced Level (from local/ international schools) as well as foreign universities. It covers the basics of clinical medicine and prepares students for their journey in healthcare.

Further, students following medical degrees in foreign countries are offered ‘Clinical Observerships’ during their vacations to sharpen their clinical skills at Lanka Hospitals, where they are given first-hand exposure to a broad spectrum of diseases.

Moreover, LHA has partnered with leading universities and educational institutions in Sri Lanka and in South Asia to provide clinical training for their respective healthcare programmes.

“Lanka Hospitals is renowned for its quality with many local and international accolades under her wings,” said Dr. Karunasekara. The hospital received the 7th Edition of the Joint Commission International Accreditation (JCIA) and the gold standard for quality in healthcare. Lanka Hospitals Laboratory has the College of American Pathologists (CAP) accreditation and is the only accredited lab in Sri Lanka. “Lanka Hospitals has set the standard for healthcare quality and strives to extend the same standards to LHA,” he noted.  

LHA is an approved registered training institute in the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission under the Ministry of Skills Development, Employment & Labour Relations. LHA has been conducting training programmes successfully over the years, providing numerous job opportunities for students who successfully complete their courses at LHA.

“Also, Lanka Hospitals School of Nursing fulfills the required supply of nurses to the hospital and ensures quality nursing education. The teaching staff of the Lanka Hospitals School of Nursing are experienced tutors. Since its commencement, twenty batches have passed out from the school as of 2021 as qualified nurses, and are now employed at the hospital,” said Dr. Karunasekara. LHA is exploring the possibilities of extending the nursing diploma to external students in the near future.

With a history in training and development, Lanka Hospitals has trained the educators who have been conducting these programmes successfully over the years. A fully-fledged academy, LHA is a publicly quoted organisation with government affiliation. The Academy has also secured partnerships with registered governing organisations such as Tertiary Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) and National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) and has succeeded in obtaining timely accreditations to deliver quality education.  

Moreover, Lanka Hospitals being a JCIA-accredited organisation, provides quality care for all patients at every stage, which makes it the best place to establish a learning culture.

Meanwhile, the economic downturn and opening up of foreign job opportunities for skilled migration in the healthcare field have resulted in an increased demand for healthcare education. Catering to this demand has proven to be challenging for LHA with its current capacity, therefore it’s in the process of expanding its facilities to cater to the market changes. “This is not only an opportunity for LHA but for the country to earn the much-needed foreign currency,” added Dr. Karunasekara.

In terms of future plans, LHA intends to expand its resources and form partnerships with educational institutes to promote healthcare-related programmes and alternate career pathways that can be pursued apart from medicine. LHA also seeks international collaborations with governments and private institutions to provide healthcare education and specialised training for a nursing career.

Drawing on his years of experience in the healthcare industry, Dr. Karunasekara shared his thoughts for aspiring healthcare professionals. “This is an industry with enormous growth potential. It’s also hugely self-satisfying and some say it’s the only industry that pays you as well as evokes blessings daily. Also, knowledge is the key to success and wisdom, while education is the way of achieving both at the same time,” he remarked. Finally, he emphasised that choosing the right learning institution, especially in clinical training, is a key success factor.