The University of Liberia (UL), with support from the Ministry of Health, the World Bank and other partners have completed the construction of facilities on its 5,000 acres in Careysburg where the biggest of its campuses is situated and has moved both classroom education and dormitories of the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine.
In his remarks, the chief medical officer of Liberia, Dr. Francis Kateh said the finishing of the construction units for dormitories and education in the soonest possible time is a manifestation of a concerted collaboration among team members at the UL and others who support their vision for a better education system.
“Since the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) left our soil we have become united in turning things in a positive direction than ever before and, from experience, we can proudly say that we are winners in a lot more ways,” Dr. Kateh said.
Dr. Kateh, who served as a proxy for the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, said the success manifested in the construction of the facilities came through when his former boss, Dr. Bernice Dahn, saw the need to employ measures that helped expand the space for quality and better service provisions at hospitals and in schools offering medical lessons.
Dr. Dahn was Minister of Health under former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s leadership. She was succeeded by Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah after the administration of President George M. Weah was seated.
“Our gathering here is to see the dedication of these facilities. It does not only stem from the negative impact we had when the EVD hit our country, but what we have been able to accomplish in a short time as a people,” Dr. Kateh said.
He added that it is the hope of the Ministry of Health (MOH) that more medical doctors are trained to be able to care for people affected with or by virus diseases rather than seeing the public once again panicked by an outbreak of a virus disease such as EVD.
He said the MOH still counts on Dr. Dahn to work closely with the UL in order to establish a center of excellence through quality education of students seeking medical ideas to handle diseases in the future as the country moves along its developmental path.
He boasted that due to the experiences the country has had over the years, there is a set of expertise to take care of at any medical emergency.
He thanked the UL administration for the farsightedness and appreciated the World Bank and other partners who have made it possible that the project was a success.
Foreign Affairs Minister Gbehzohngar Findley, who delivered the keynote address on behalf of President George Weah, said the president was delighted by the accomplishment and is willing to make sure that his government supports the education system at all levels for the benefit of his fellow citizens.
“In the last ten months, we are all witnesses of President Weah’s commitment to lifting Liberians out of poverty. He has declared and it is, in effect, free tuition at all state-run universities for undergraduate degree programs. He has ensured that the UL runs a digital registration system. Too many things to count in just a few months of the first six-year tenure of President Weah,” Findley boasted.
He said there was no need to overemphasize Weah’s government’s commitment to training young Liberians who will take over the mantle of leadership tomorrow.
The operations officer and acting officer in charge at the World Bank Country Office in Liberia, Esther Rojas-Garcia said her office is pleased and extremely excited to have seen that its US$2.45 million given to the government for the project was properly used.
“A comprehensive assessment of training institutions, conducted by the Ministry of Health in 2015, noted the poor learning environment and living conditions, which contribute to low enrollment and high attraction of medical students,” Garcia said.
She added: “The challenges noted include unstable electricity and INTERNET, lack of skills laboratory to learn through hands-on practice; and overcrowded dormitories with no desks or tables for studying.”
She said with regards to dormitories, 18 students are currently housed in a three bedroom apartment, with six students sharing a bedroom and all 18 students sharing one bathroom with no running water.
UL President, Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks, thanked the audience for making the dedicatory ceremony of the facilities a success and called on all partners to continue reposing their trust and confidence in her leadership to deliver on its mandate to provide tertiary education for all high school graduates in the country.
The A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine has been operating at its facilities behind the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital in Congo Town.
Currently, the new facilities at Fendall contain two furnished 48 bedroom dormitories, two fully furnished classrooms, and one furnished skills laboratory. Two students will be entitled to a bedroom and each student will have his or her own bed and a table to study on. Four to six students will be entitled to a bathroom.