The Official E-Newsletter of the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka   |  Issue 48 - September / October 2020

President's Message

Eng. Prof S B S Abayakoon

Fellow Engineers,Dear Readers

We are in the latest quarter of this year and days are passing swiftly. Undeniably, COVID-19 would be the highlight of the year 2020 seeing its disruption on society, economy, governments, and environment. Though Sri Lanka has successfully managed to mitigate the spreading of the virus when it first appears, some regions such as India, Brazil, are still struggling. I would like to make this an arena to present one of the key observations I made during the battle against COVID-19; the lack of collaboration among professionals.

As members of the IESL, we represent the engineering community of the country. Safeguarding the engineering profession and working towards the advancement of the community are the responsibilities that have fallen upon our shoulders. I would prefer to take the case of COVID-19 as a situation where this was tested. Sectional Committees, Provincial Chapters, and other gatherings of the IESL did tremendous work assisting the government to mitigate the pandemic situation and to facilitate the recovery of infected people. One of the major observations at the very beginning of this issue was that the medical system in the country was not adequately equipped to face such a situation. Lack of equipment or equipment set aside due to inability to repair them, small malfunctions in the electric system, AC systems, Ventilation systems causing certain wards to be not fully utilized are some of the issues picked up by engineers during their initial discussions with medical professions. These indicate that a stronger and active collaboration between the two professions Practitioners of Engineering and Medicine needs to be established .

In the case of renovating hospital facilities what engineers did was to apply simple engineering solutions that could have been addressed well before the outbreak of the pandemic if the two professions were engaged in a simple dialog.

Also, it is imperative to acknowledge that none of these problems can be answered only by one or two professions. One has to seek the assistance of others. When we try to address a certain problem the solution proposed can have various consequences. These need to be addressed from scientific, legal, societal, economic, and many more perspectives. The collective problem solving brings the best outcomes.As engineers, we should lead the way to get all stakeholders involved in solving development problems of the country.

It is essential to realize the importance of shared vision and purpose. All professions are bound by their ethics. Engineers have their set of ethics to follow, so do the other professionals. No matter how varied these can be, there are always one similar paths ,that lead to betterment of the community and the country. This is the link that holds all professions interconnected and we most often forget.

In summary, the collaboration among professions is a key indicator of the development of a certain country. We all should engage with other professions by talking to them, listening to them, and understanding them. At the end of the day, we all serve the same purpose to make a better country for our future generations.

I thank all of you for electing me as the President of IESL for the session 2019/2020 and for your active corporation during the session. I sincerely hope that you will extend the same to all future activities of the IESL as well.

Eng. Prof S B S Abayakoon
President - IESL 2019/2020