Galle, Sri Lanka

Teaching Hospital at Karapitiya

Galle, Sri Lanka
Dr. Ajith Nagahawatte
Senior Lecturer, Ruhuna Faculty of Medicine


Duke University School of Medicine and Ruhuna University Faculty of Medicine forged a research and education collaboration in early 2006 after Drs. Chris Woods and Truls Ostbye visited the local university in response to the 2004 tsunami diaster. The Duke-Ruhuna collaboration was initially funded by the generous support of the Duke Tsunami Relief Fund and Hubert-Yeargan Center for Global Health.  This collaboration has encompassed epidemiologic and clinical research in Sri Lanka, and the option for Duke residents and medical students to undertake clinical electives at the Ruhuna-affiliated tertiary care teaching hospital. The Faculty of Medicine and Teaching Hospital is located in Galle, a coastal city in the south of Sri Lanka renowned for its beaches and history.

Clinical Opportunities

The 1,400-bed Teaching Hospital at Karapitiya serves as the leading tertiary care facility for southwestern Sri Lanka. Annual admissions approach 120,000 with an average length of stay of 4 days. Duke trainees can undertake clinical electives in medicine, community and family medicine, pediatrics, surgery, orthopedics, ENT, neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery, urology, psychiatry, critical care, or emergency medicine. Trainees are also encouraged to partake in Ruhuna University’s community health projects.


Early projects funded by the Duke Tsunami Relief Fund and HYC included a study of in- and outpatient febrile illness at Ruhuna Teaching Hospital, a community survey of adolescent reproductive health and behaviors in the Galle District, and an epidemiological study of hospital admissions before and after the tsunami.

In April 2021, members of the Duke-Ruhuna Research Collaborative received the Sri Lanka President’s Award for Scientific Research for their 2018 paper, Evaluation of the WHO 2009 classification for diagnosis of acute dengue in a large cohort of adults and children in Sri Lanka during a dengue-1 epidemic. This highly rated peer reviewed paper was ranked in the top twenty articles submitted for the 2021 awards ceremony.

Duke residents on elective rotations may participate in ongoing research projects if they consult with site faculty leads in advance.