As doctors contemplate legal action against Dr. Kpoto
The Daily Observer newspaper has received reliable reports that crisis is brewing within the leadership of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (LCPS), stemming from the alleged lack of transparency and accountability. The LCPS’ leadership is headed by Dr. Robert Kpoto, an orthopedic (bone) surgeon in the country. The College is headquartered on 12th Street, Sinkor, a suburb of Monrovia.
In 2013 the Government established the Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons (LCPS) in response to the country’s critical shortage of physicians. The LCPS is convener and lead organizer for the Graduate Medical Education programs in Liberia and is charged with the mission to produce medical specialists who will demonstrate the highest standards of medical expertise.
The day-to-day operations, including oversight for the implementation of projects, are run by the LCPS Secretariat headed by a Secretary-General. A five-member Executive Committee sets policies and ensures the training of residents runs smoothly. The ultimate decision-making body is the 19- member Post-graduate Medical Council that includes the Dean of the A.M. Dogliotti Medical School. LCPS matriculated its first cohort of 19 residents in September 2013 and a second cohort of 18 residents in July 2015. The third cohort of 19 residents started in July 2016.
The total number of residents currently in the program is 47. Projections show that the LCPS will produce 178 specialist physicians by 2025, with an expectation that half of each entering cohort will continue into the Fellowship track to sustain training programs. There are currently nine full–time faculty working at the JFK Medical Center and Redemption Hospital in Monrovia, Phebe Hospital in Bong County, and Jackson F. Doe Regional Referral Hospital in Nimba County. Faculty focus on Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, Nephrology, Dermatology, Neurology, Psychiatry, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, and Surgery.
The West African College of Physicians (WACP) and the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) support accreditation, curriculum development and revision, and capacity building. Both of these governing bodies convene members annually and also administer fellowship and membership exams twice yearly.
Though Dr. Kpoto is yet to respond to the allegation, in the latest development, several Liberian medical doctors, among them former Health Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn and John F. Kennedy (JFK) Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sia Camanor, are calling on the Kpoto presidency to convene the Annual General and Scientific Meeting (AGSM). The doctors, who are said to be aggrieved about the current trend of events within the LCPS, are now reportedly threatening legal action to compel Dr. Kpoto to account for his stewardship.
The AGSM, according to the position statement signed by the aggrieved doctors, is an event of the College at which time Fellows and Members are admitted into the College. It is also when activities of the Council are reviewed for corrective action if necessary.
According to the doctors, the current administration under the leadership of Dr. Kpoto has declined to organize the AGSM, noting that he did instead invite Fellows and members of the College to a convocation program, which they said was taken without consultation with the Executive, and which is in violation of the rules, regulations and procedures of the College.
Under the Act creating the College, the administrative functions of the College are entrusted to an Executive Council headed by the president; but Kpoto is assisted in his responsibilities by two vice presidents, an honorary treasurer and a secretary-general, who runs the day to day affairs of the institution.
Further, under the Act, the president chairs meetings of the Council as well as meetings of Executive members of the Council.
But, according to the doctors, “the president of the College, Dr. Robert Kpoto, continues to conduct the affairs of the College in ways that not only violate procedures, rules and regulations, but are suggestive of an executive president with unrestrained powers to act unilaterally.”
Examples of such unilateral action, according to the doctors, include hiring, firing, promoting, and the formulation of policies which, they insist, must be vetted by the Council in order to qualify as legal and binding.
Additional points of concern listed by the doctors, among others, include the lack of transparency and accountability, and disrespect of the rules, procedures and practices of the College, which they maintain, has subverted and denigrated the role of the executive members and the Council.
Doctors who signed the position statement are, Moses B. F. Massaquoi, Roseda Marshall, Philderald Pratt, Bernice Dahn, Eugene Dolopei, Billy Johnson, Emmanuel Amagashie, John Mulbah, Sia Watta Camanor, Lawrence Sherman, Benjamin Harris, Angela Benson, Ivan Camanor, Jeanetta K. Johnson, Rose Macauley Jallah and Professor Joseph Njoh.
Meanwhile, attempts to contact Dr. Kpoto for his official reaction to the concerns raised by the doctors have proved futile up to press time last night. A text message sent to him on Friday, November 2, 2018, has since gone answered. The text message reads…”we seek comments from you concerning the position statement written and signed by a number of doctors expressing concerned over your handling of affairs at the Liberian College of Physicians and Surgeons. Could you kindly contact us as soon as you receive this message? We look forward to hearing from you in the soonest time possible. You may contact any of the following numbers to reach us: 0886644882, 0777472772, and 0770963727.