Atrial Fibrillation Project

NIHR Global Health Research Group on Atrial Fibrillation Management – Sri Lanka

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disorder globally; 25% of strokes are due to AF and adults have a 1 in 4 lifetime risk of AF. The main causes, high blood pressure and diabetes, are common in Sri Lanka. AF is under-diagnosed and inadequately treated leading to missed opportunities in preventing stroke, with serious implications for quality of life and an increasing burden of caregiving as well as pressures on healthcare systems.

Led by DCFM, the University of Jaffna is collaborating with the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, to shed light on the AF situation in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Information about the Global AF Research Project is available here.

In Sri Lanka, this research is being carried out as three parallel studies: 

  • A community-based study to determine the prevalence of AF, its risk factors, and the cost effectiveness of case finding strategies, and the acceptability and usability of Alivecor (a smartphone-based app) as a case finding strategy in the Northern Province;
  • A feasibility study to identify ways to streamline management of AF using a mHealth real-time decision support platform in the Jaffna district; and
  • A retrospective and prospective hospital-based study on AF management and stroke.

Academic staff members of DCFM are leading the AF project in Sri Lanka, along with other researchers at the Faculty of Medicine and Teaching Hospital Jaffna.

 Country Lead

Prof. R. Surenthirakumaran, Consultant Community Physician, Senior Lecturer, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine-Jaffna

 Primary Investigators

Dr S Kumaran, Consultant Family Physician, Senior Lecturer, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine-Jaffna

Dr B Kumaraendran, Consultant Community Physician, Senior Lecturer, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine-Jaffna

Dr M Guruparan, Consultant Cardiologist, Teaching Hospital Jaffna

Dr A Ajini, Consultant Neurologist, Teaching Hospital Jaffna and Senior Lecturer, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Jaffna

Research Fellows

Mr. V A Sheron, Research Fellow in Health Systems Development

Dr. K Shribavan, Research Fellow in Health Economics

Ms. U Powsiga, Research Fellow in Epidemiology and Statistics

Ms. T Bamini, Research Fellow in Information Technology 

 Programme Manager

Mr. P Prasanth

Other Research Activities

“Survey on health issues faced by the home quarantine people due to COVID – 19 in Northern Sri Lanka” (2020- )

Investigators: Dr. P.A.D. Coonghe (DCFM), Dr. R. Surenthirakumaran (DCFM), Dr. S. Kumaran (DCFM), Dr. R. Kesavan (Department of Health – Northern Province)

“The medelopment of a transdisciplinary, multistakeholder approach for water security in Northern Province, Sri Lanka”- (2019- ), funded by Accelerating Higher Education Expansion and Development (AHEAD) Operation, World Bank.

Investigators: Dr. R. Surenthirakumaran (DCFM), Dr. B. Kumarendran (DCFM), along with Dr. S. Srikanthan, Dr. K. Chandrasekar, et al. of University of Jaffna.

“Health, psychological distress and level of satisfaction due to interactions with youth, among the elders in Jaffna district,” (2018–) in partnership with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Duke University, funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA.

Investigators: Dr. R. Surenthirakumaran (DCFM), Dr. P.A.D Coonghe (DCFM), Prof. Truls Ostbye (Duke Global Health Institute), Prof.  Joanna Maselko (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and Prof. Kathryn Law Hale (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).

“A study on ragging violence, health consequences and help seeking behavior among students of the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka,”- (2018-)

Investigators:  Dr. Ayanthi Wickramasinghe (Uppsala University, Sweden), Prof. Pia Axemo (Uppsala University, Sweden), Prof. Birgitta Essen (Uppsala University, Sweden), Dr. R. Surenthirakumaran (DCFM) and Dr. Ramya Kumar (DCFM)

“Integrating mental health into primary care for post-conflict populations in Northern Sri Lanka [COM-GAP],” (2016 – ) funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], Atlanta, USA. Investigators: Dr. C. Siriwardhana (Anglia Ruskin University), Dr. R. Surenthirakumaran (DCFM), Prof. D. Somasundaram (University of Jaffna), and Dr. A. Adikari (Institute for Research and Development, Colombo).


Post-graduate trainee research 


“Prevalence and risk of psychoactive substance use and the effectiveness of a school-based intervention to increase knowledge on psychoactive substance among Grade 11 and 12 school students in the Jaffna District” Dr. C.J. Mathanraj (2019 – )

“Solid waste management and associated factors in state sector institutions in Jaffna Municipal Council area” Dr. S. Thuvaragah (2020- )


“Sub – fertility among women attending obstetrics and gynecology unit in the District Base Hospital, Tellippalai – A case control study” Dr. N. Parameswaran (2020)

“Prevalence and selected correlates of behavior problems among the grade eight school children and the effectiveness of education intervention package for selected problems in Jaffna district” Dr. J.T. Sivashankar (2019)

“Knowledge, attitude, and practice related to HIV and its influencing factors among public health midwives in Jaffna district: Dr. M. Thakshagini (2016)

“Effectiveness of a planned health educational intervention on metered dose inhalation technique among adult asthmatic or chronic obstructive disease patients in Chest Clinic, Jaffna district,” S. Kumaran (2016)

“Prevalence of mild cognitive impairment and its selected correlates among elders in Jaffna district,” P. A. D. Coonghe, (2015)

“Current status of cancer in Jaffna: completeness of registration and prevalence of risk factors and awareness of preventive services,” Dr. R. Surenthirakumaran (2011)

“Inequalities in nutrition in Jaffna: associated factors and effectiveness of interventions,” Dr. S. Sivaganesh (2011)

“Prevalence of type II diabetes mellitus and its risk factors among adults and use of preventive care practices by known diabetics in the Jaffna District,” Dr. N. Rajeshkannan (2011)

“Mental health of adolescent school children in Jaffna district and some of their psychological correlates,” Dr. P. Lukumar (2006)

Undergraduate Research

The Community Medicine Curriculum requires all medical students to undertake a research project during the third and fourth year of the undergraduate programme. The students are expected to select a health problem/topic of interest, conceptualize their research questions, and design an appropriate methodology, under the guidance of two supervisors. The project is carried out by groups of 5 students, and an interdisciplinary approach to research is encouraged. The following undergraduate research projects have been completed to date.

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