The Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons (LCPS), which is in charge of the smooth running of the Liberia Post-Graduate Medical College (LPGMC), has announced that it is determined to put specialist medical practitioners in regional hospitals across the country.
The president of the College, Dr. Roseda Marshall, said they are training residence doctors, who are general medical practitioners, when they leave the A. M. Dogliotti College of Medicine after five years of study.
“What we are trying to do is to train Pediatricians, Internists, Obstetric Gynecologists and General Surgical Doctors. So that means that after the internship and after working for one year or two, they can now enter into a school and sub-specialize in these other disciplines,” Dr. Marshall said.
She narrated that before the LPGMC started, Liberian doctors travelled to foreign countries, including England and USA, for further studies in order to specialize. According to Dr. Marshall, most of these doctors did not return home.
“We hope to train doctors so that within the 15 counties in 10 years, we should have Internists, Pediatricians, General Surgeons and those working in Obstetrics and Gynecology. This will help, of course to improve health care quality in Liberia,” Dr. Marshall said.
The College, which became fully operational three years ago, firstly enrolled 19 resident doctors, one of whom succumbed to the deadly Ebola virus disease when it struck in March of 2014. The College president, Dr. Marshall, stated that two others dropped from the program and 16 are now still in training. She also stated that the College has taken in the second batch of the trainees, who are 18 in total. The program runs for three years before graduation, but the first batch of students who should have graduated this year, won’t be granted that privilege as 2014, which was the Ebola crisis year, is not counted.
Announcing the “scientific” conference, which the College is set to host, she said as part of the requirements for being a member of the West African College of Physicians and Surgeons (WACPS), the LCPS is to host annually a general scientific meeting.
Dr. Marshall said taking part in the meeting are individuals who have reached a certain status in their medical careers to become “Fellows”. These people gather in a business meeting to talk about what is going on in the College, including challenges, recommendations and the way forward.
During the three-day meeting several of the Fellows give scholarly presentations on some of the medical issues facing the nation.
She disclosed that the College is working with one private and six government hospitals around the country, including Phebe and C.B. Dunbar in Gbarnga, Bong County, JFK and Redemption in Monrovia, Jackson F. Doe in Nimba County and
St. Joseph Catholic Hospital in Monrovia. However, at the moment, only four of those hospitals are being used for the training.
Also giving remarks, Dr. Robert Kpoto said the Ebola crisis greatly affected the smooth operation of the College.
Dr. Kpoto, who is a Fellow of the College and the first vice president for surgery, disclosed that the loss of two of their colleagues, Dr. Samuel Brisbane and Dr. Abraham Borbor, brought fear in all of the medical practitioners. He also spoke of the psychosocial impact the disease had on College members, including its resident doctors.
Dr. Benjamin Harris, another Fellow and vice president of the College, said in order to provide quality post-graduate training, it is very important that the training environment meets the standard set by the WACPS.
“A number of these hospitals have been excluded because of various limitations and even those hospitals that we are utilizing don’t have standards set by the WACPS for accreditation and for international recognition as a training facility because of lack of personnel and equipment,” Dr. Harris said.
He, however, stated that the College is working along with partners, including the WHO, World Bank and others to help upgrade facilitates of these hospitals so that they can be on par with other medical facilities in the West African sub-region.
For her part, Dr. Angela Benson, another Fellow and a member of the College’s board said the scientific conference is going to be a very big event. Dr. Benson added, “It’s going to help expose us to the general public becase most people don’t know about us.”
The scientific meeting is scheduled for November 27 & 28.