The Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons (LCPS) on Friday July 19, 2019, graduated 17 ‘specialized doctors at a colorful ceremony hosted in the auditorium of the SKD Sports Complex in Paynesville City.
The LCPS’ third convocation ceremony coincided with its fourth annual general and scientific meeting, which was held under the theme, “Good Governance in the Medical Profession,” with the sub-theme, “Medical Doctors as Exemplars of Good Leadership.”
The LCPS is a professional institution established by law in 2012, and officially launched in 2013 to train medical specialists to provide a high level of healthcare to patients.
The graduates were trained as specialists in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics (children), General Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology (women). By that, authorities at the Ministry of Health are expected to assign each of the doctors to the various health facilities across the country.
The LCPS newly admitted members by examinations in the department of Internal Medicine include Drs. Cozie Gwailolo, Tabehde Freeman Murray, Kolu Beyan Davies and Varbah Paye. The two admitted into the department of Pediatrics (children) are Drs. Yuah A. Nemah and Minnie Sankawulo-Ricks; department of General Surgery are Drs. Kalamon Wullie, Jonathan M. Hart, Albertha Clarke, Joseph K. Wehyee and Wilmot Frank, while in the department of Obstetrics//Gynecology includes Drs. Deazee M. Saywon, Numenine E. Endersks, Momolu Massaley, Ansumana Camara and Kortu D. Sannor.
LCPS vice president for Physicians Dr. Benjamin Harris said two additional faculties, including the one for internal medicine with the collaboration of the ELWA Hospital, and the another for ophthalmology (eye) in collaboration with an eye institute in India in the last two years.
“Since the inception of the College, we have so far inducted into our membership 47 individuals,” Dr. Harris told the elated audience.
“Today, we are pleased to inform you that we are again certificating as specialists into our four core faculty of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, General Surgery and Obstetrics and Gynecology,” he added.
According to Dr. Harris, the current number of physicians in the country is 1, 505, “far below the recommended ratio of 1 physician per 1000 population set by WHO.”
“Only about eight percent of doctors practicing in the country have had formal training; there existed no specialty training. Those who sought further training did so in foreign countries and most did not return, but in 2012, prior to the establishment of the LCPS, there were only 144 Liberian doctors practicing in the country, and only 15 had received specialist training,” recalls Dr. Harris.
He said the need for postgraduate training could not therefore be overemphasized.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina S. Jallah, appealed to the newly inducted ‘specialized doctors’ to accept and embrace whatever areas of their assignments from the ministry would be. Minister Jallah’s called to the doctors comes in the midst of challenges confronting the country’s health sector.
“We know there are challenges, there will be sometimes the lack of water supply; there will be lack of electricity and sometimes in adequate housing facilities. And I know that the money you will be paid might not be the money you are expecting as a specialized doctor, but please, accept the those conditions so that we move the country forward,” Dr. Jallah told the graduates.
She said the ministry is charged with the responsibility of placing these specialists at the various facilities across the country where they will be starting their medical career.
Madam Mawine D. Diggs, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister for Administration, encouraged the graduates to focus on trust and excellence.
Madam Diggs emphasized the need to prioritize good governance across all sectors of the country using the best international business model.
“In almost every sector of the society, whether health, education or any non-governmental institution, there is a need to approach governance to the business model that assumes accountability, respect and responsibility,” She said.
Madam Diggs continued, “If we cannot be accountable for our actions; if we cannot demonstrate respect for our peers, and those we choose and decided to serve; and if we cannot show that we are prepared, all the dividends we have accrued will not benefit our society.”
She praised the graduates for the time and efforts in the medical school, but cautioned them to be mindful of the greater praises they would receive from their patients, noting that being a ‘specialized doctor’ comes with some responsibilities, as such they must show respect and be accountable to society.
Dr. John Nkrumah Mills, president of the Ghanaian College of Physicians and Surgeons (GCPS), who honored the LCPS’s invitation to attend the 4th Annual General and Scientific Meeting and 3rd Convocation ceremony, urged the leadership of the LCPS to continue the efforts in training more specialized doctors to help the society.
To the graduates, Dr. Mills added, “To whom much is given, much is expected, therefore, colleagues of the graduates and the society expect more of them, and that they must remain committed to medical profession and their responsibility to save lives.
He then expressed the hope that their addition in the health sector as young, but well trained and specialized doctors will bring improvement in the Liberian health sector.
According to Dr. Mills, since the GCPS was established, 45 physicians have received specialist training, and have been awarded membership into the four core faculties of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, General Surgeons and Obstetrics and Gynecology in Ghana. “They are so well, like you too will do so well in your respective areas of assignments, he told to the graduates to the delight of their parents and well-wishers who graced the occasion in their numbers.