The University of Liberia (UL) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have signed a US$7 million memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the renovation of the UL Science Complex Building on Fendell Campus, outside Monrovia, UL President, Dr. Emmett A. Dennis has confirmed.
The MOU, according to Dr. Dennis, is intended to create an educational opportunity for students to gain more practical experience in the science courses and other areas of studies including technology.
Dr. Dennis made the disclosure during a program marking the first graduation of Public Health Technicians Certificate Program organized by the Center for Excellence in Health and Life Sciences (CEHLS) with funding from USAID.
The graduation program was held on the UL Capitol Hill Campus in Monrovia.
Earlier in his welcome statement, Dr. Dennis underscored the importance of the public health certificate program, which he said is crucial to prepare Liberians to battle Ebola that is not yet eradicated from the country.
He stressed the need for Liberians to be trained in public health to ensure that public areas such as food centers and school campuses are well protected.
According to him, UL is expected to start offering bachelor degrees in nursing and midwifery as well as public health management for people to run health facilities, while doctors remain focused on patients in hospitals and other health-related facilities.
The keynote speaker, Public Health Consultant at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOH&SW), Angela Benson, praised the students for the achievements and encouraged them to work together to develop their skills and also motivate others.
For her part, CEHLS Country Director, Ansahta Yna Garnett, appealed for additional financial support to her organization to enable the institution to continue the program.
She said the center focuses on enhancing the capacity of the health workers in Liberia through academic partnership between the UL, Indiana University and the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the United States.
She said the purpose of the center is to build the capacity of the UL programs to address a national shortage of health workers, and therefore, it was necessary that the center be fully supported.
According to her, the agenda was accomplished through the development of new and updated programs at the A.M Dogliotti College of Medicine, Thomas J.R Faulkner College of Science and Technology and sister public institution, the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts (TNIMA).
The focus of the center, she said, is to further prepare students in life sciences such as public health, nursing, midwifery and pre-clinical science in medicine and pharmacy.
The CEHLS program was launched on March 26, 2012 as an academic partnership to address the healthcare delivery needs in Liberia.