Sri Lanka award to family physician inventor

News from the College of General Practitioners of Sri Lanka

Dr Sanath Hettige MBBS,DFM,MD (Family Med) is a Council member College of General Practitioners of Sri Lanka (CGPSL) and chair of the Board of Study in Family Medicine, Post Graduate Institute of Medicine, Colombo.

He has won the first prize for the best medical invention (2013), for his invention of papaya leaf syrup, tablets and capsules for the treatment of dengue fever and other medical conditions. The award was made at the presidential awards ceremony held on 5th February 2016.

Photo courtesy of the presidential media unit

This is the presidential award for the best inventor in the country in the field of medicine. The inventor is selected by a panel of experts in the field of medicine and other relevant scientific fields.

Dr Hettige was awarded the first place gold award and also a cash prize of hundred thousand rupees. They also gave him the best inventor logo, which he can put in his letterhead and also business card. This emblem gives him special privileges at government institutions.

This is not a research award. Usually these awards are won by scientists and mechanical engineers to best of my knowledge he is only the second medical doctor to have won the first place gold award. No general practitioner has won this award before.

When selecting him for this award they looked at two things: firstly that he has obtained the patent for medicinal use of papaya leaf in 2013 (he is the only person in the world to get this patent for this plant leaf). He published about the efficacy of the papaya leaf first before anyone else in the world and it was published in the Sri Lankan Family Physician. Secondly they were looking at the fact that the world is using this medicine for dengue fever including in Malaysia, India and Pakistan with the approval of the health authorities. They were also appreciative of the fact that this is the only clinically proven medicine for dengue fever with more than twenty published research articles including three randomized control clinical trials proving its efficacy - millions of people world wide benefit from it.

The evaluation committee also considered the fact that when commercializing this product there would be a potential export market and could bring foreign revenue to the country.

This is an exceptional award because his finding is and will benefit millions of dengue fever patients worldwide.