Whither Specialized Training for Liberian Medical Doctors?


Does anyone remember a man called Dr. Joseph N. Togba?

We presume yes, for the current Health and Social Welfare Minister, Dr. Walter Gwenigale, was instrumental in naming of the new MOH Building in Congotown after Dr. Togba, this first Director General of the National Public Health Service, now MOH.

Why was Dr. Togba so honored?  Not only because he was the first head of Liberia's modern Health system, but also because he was the first Black African to sign the World Health Organization (WHO) Charter, at its creation in 1948.  Second, he was the first African to be elected President of the WHO Assembly, 1954.

And thanks to his vast and powerful connections within the  WHO, Liberian medical practitioners remember Dr. Togba finding scholarships for Liberians to study Medicine, with numerous Specializations, in Europe and America.

This newspaper has often asked this recurrent question: Are the various professional Ministries and Agencies of government doing any TRAINING?  For example, the early heads of Mines and Geology, now Ministry of Lands,Mines and Energy, trained scores of mining, geological,  hydrological, typographical and other engineers.  What kind of training is LME doing today?

In the early days, Public Works trained many architectual, civil, mechanical, structural and other engineers to do its work.  So did Dr. Togba and other Health Ministers.  What is the MOH doing today in a country in which, according to our Health Correspondent, Alaskai Moore Johnson, there are 700,000 Liberian children and seven dentists in the entire country, only among them Liberian?

We also know that Liberia has only one orthopedic surgeon.    What are MOH and the John F. Kennedy Medical Center doing with TRAINING?  Dr. Wvannie-Mae Scott McDonald was the first Liberian nurse to earn a PhD.  That was nearly a quarter century ago. Are there any more
Wvannie-Mae Scotts in the making?

How about the Liberian Electricity Corporation?  How many electrical engineers have they trained in recent years?  When Taylor Major, a telecommunications engineer, headed the Public Utilities Authority (PUA), he sent many abroad to study Electrical Engineering and related

And the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation?  How many water, mechanical, electrical and other engineers and water management specialists are they training?  We wonder how Chairman Kimmie Weeks and Managing Director Charles Allen would answer that?

What about the other specialized Agencies, like Telecom–How  many telecommunications  engineers have been  trained since Mr. Wolo became MD?  And the Liberia Telecommunications Authority–how many telecom engineers and other related specialists are in training, we ask the Chair, Ms. Euphemia Weeks?

Dr. Randolph McClain, a chemical engineer, has given serious focus to training in the Petroleum sector, knowing that this is an entirely new area of specialization in Liberia.

And what of Finance?  Amara Konneh was  lucky–President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf  sent him to Harvard to study Financial Management and related fields.  But what has he done since    he became Finance Minister?

What has Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan done to train Liberians in International Law and Diplomacy? President W.V.S. Tubman sent Rudolph Grimes and Ernest Eastman to Columbia University to study International Law and International Affairs, respectively; and Grimes, on becoming Secretary of State in 1958, sent many Liberians to the
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Massachusetts to be trained to
return and serve in the State Department.

In the medical field, we are aware that the West African College of Phyicians and Surgeons is setting up a college to train specialists. Until that institution is ready to execute high quality training, with all necessary books and equipment available,  we need to send the young Medical graduates abroad for specialization. We call on all heads of government Ministries and Agencies to THINK

ABOUT TOMORROW and TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN our people for greater service not only in Liberia, but in international positions all over theworld.

We finally call on the government to put whip to its horse and better equip the JFK Medical Center with modern facilities, including the DENTAL CLINIC, so that all parts of the Medical Center would be ready to render sophisticated services  to our people, so that they may not have to run to Ghana, South Africa, Europe and America for effective
medical attention.


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