— Says nursing must be about service to humanity
Rev. Dr. Jimmy B. Kuoh, President of the Liberia Assemblies of God Bible College, has stressed the importance of restoring integrity to the nursing profession in Liberia.
Dr. Kuoh said that if nurses in Liberia are to succeed in transmitting knowledge into visible reality, they must be purposefully aggressive in locating and creating the space for service to humanity.
He made these remarks when he served as the commencement speaker of the 7th graduation convocation of the Liberia Dujar University College (LDUC) in Monrovia.
“You have all the reasons to celebrate because after the hard struggle, but I want you to realize that there is a world of reality awaiting you beyond the walls of LDUC,” he told the graduates.
Kuoh referenced a recent public opinion that most nurses in Liberia are not demonstrating the ethical principles of integrity and compassion during their professional studies.
According to Kuoh, if nurses wish to follow their education, upholding the value of integrity should be the order of the day. If you wish to succeed in this field, then you must be able to explore all the opportunities as a College trained nurse.
“When you practice integrity as a professional nurse, people will identify you as someone who is dependable and can be trusted. Integrity will eventually help you promote yourself above others and build a strong relationship between you and the patients,” he added.
In his deliberations, Dr. Kuoh also referenced available statistics that further revealed the demand for nurses in Liberia is being adequately addressed through higher learning institutions like the Liberia Dujar University College.
He noted that in an effort to build human resources development for health, a case study from a Liberian researcher (Estella Vamplah) and others published by the online National Library of Medicine, there was a total of 965 Nurses and Midwives in Liberia in 2006; just 4 years later in 2010, the number of nurses more than tripled to 3,394.
Meanwhile, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number mentioned above by Dr. Kuoh further jumped to 8,500 in 2016, and by 2021 the number of nurses and midwives in Liberia has further increased to 9,416. With these figures, he said, one could conclude that the demand for professional nurses in Liberia in terms of numbers is diminishing very fast and as such more needs to be done.
Following approximately 2 years of intensive studies, at least 14 students graduated from the Lois B. Hemgren School of Health Sciences, Department of Nursing. Since the establishment of the Liberia Dujar University College, it has graduated thousands of professional nurses. However, due to numerous challenges coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of graduates in this year was less.
Over the years, 86% of graduates from the LDUC are trained nurses. The other fields of study, which are Agriculture, Civil Engineering, and Electrical Engineering, account for 14% of the total number of graduates. This year, 100% of the graduates are nurses, something he maintains that restoring the integrity and compassion to the nursing profession in Liberia remains key.
Liberia struggles with critical maternal and neonatal mortality rates that are amongst the worst on the African continent. 742 women out of 100,000 die giving birth to babies. This means that for every 135 women giving birth, one woman dies.
Besides, out of 1,000 children born alive, 37 of them die before reaching 5 years. These statistics are alarming, and a key reason for the bad stats is the lack of trained medical personnel.
Liberia's medical personnel account for less than 50% of the level required by the WHO.
Liberia Dujar University College has been contributing towards developing trained manpower in the health sector since 2011. On May 5, 2023, at a colorful program, 14 nursing students were also capped as a step to officially practice at medical centers across Liberia.
The Liberia Dujar University College is currently working hard to contribute by adding a midwifery department to its educational programs in order to educate and provide qualified capacity for the rural health facilities, so that ultimately infant and maternal death rates are lowered.
According to authorities, the need for help to meet the standards for accreditation, to add to its booming nursing program that has educated professional nurses over 5 graduations, is key.
In the current ratio of the number of institutions training midwives to the population, there is a wide gap — a high hanging fruit. This is why Liberia Dujar University College is making so much effort.