The Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons (LCPS) on the weekend of August 28, 2020 graduated fourteen (14) doctors in five categories of specialization: pediatrics; internal medicine; family medicine; general surgery and obstetrics/gynecology under the Government of Liberia’s flagship postgraduate medical program that is training specialized medical doctors locally. Since its inauguration in 2013 in partnership with the World Bank and academic partners from Boston Children’s Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital, University of Massachusetts, Yale University among several others, the College has till date, trained 59 doctors in different fields of specialties.
Speaking at the 4th Convocation ceremony, the President of the College, Prof. Benjamin L. Harris said the Liberia College of Physicians & Surgeons has reached another major milestone in its “progression towards attaining what we [LCPS] aspired to achieve – a system of healthcare delivery that would be the envy of not only the West African subregion but the world at large.”
“About seven (7) years ago, we embarked on a mission to train medical specialists to fill the much-needed gaps in our healthcare delivery system. We commenced our program with four (4) initial faculties. Since 2017, we have added additional faculty each year. In 2017, we were privileged to add family medicine- thanks to Dr. Rick Scara and the ELWA hospital for making this happen. We are having the first cohorts of graduates from that faculty this year- 2020,” Prof. Harris indicated.
According to him, the following year, 2018, the LCPS commenced its ophthalmology program with assistance from the Lions International Foundation and other partners.
He enumerated that the Lions International Foundation provided US$275,000 to assist in rehabilitating the John F. Kennedy Medical Center Eye Clinic and another half a million towards the training of the first cohorts of residents who will be part of the 5th graduation convocation in 2021.
Additional support from Lions International, he said, has gone towards setting up of Eye programs in Grand Bassa and Nimba.
The LCPS President thanked the World Bank as the institution’s major donor and the World Health Organization that has always stood ready to assist the College whenever a need arose. Prof. Harris also appreciated the tremendous support of the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health.
He announced that the LCPS is beginning a fellowship program for graduates to join.
In earlier remarks, the 1st Vice President of the College, Prof. John K. Mulbah said the 4th convocation is historic because it happened during a health pandemic. He added that other countries have been seeking Liberia’s experience on how they handled health crisis successfully.
“The country needs you, health professionals,” he stated.
Dr. Sia Wata Camanor said she is glad that seven Specialists came out of the 4th convocation from the faculty of physicians but sighed that there were only two women. “I want to celebrate those women. I am also happy that one of the women, Dr. Lucretia Taine Gbe-Fully, scored the highest-grade point in the entire class,” she added.
Making remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, Dr. Jerry F. Brown said it was a privilege for the country’s referral hospital to host the residents during the period of their training.
He admonished the specialists to go out and save as many lives as possible with their skills set.
For her part, Liberia’s Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah said it is the hope of the government of Liberia that the specialists will stay true to the vision of the college to take up assignment in hospitals across the country because in every county hospital, there should be a pediatrician, internist and a surgeon.
Dr. Jallah said the specialists have the knowledge required to handle any situation once they are provided with the requisite tools and equipment. She pledged the Government of Liberia continuous support to the college’s program. The Secretariat of LCPS is currently headed by Dr. Jeanetta K. Johnson as Secretary General while Dr. Benetta C. Andrews serves as Assistant Secretary General.