(MONROVIA – March 19, 2009): On the 4oth anniversary of the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine of the University of Liberia (UL), the Liberian Government has renewed Government’s commitment to the full restoration of the institution by providing necessary support. Addressing students and alumni of the institution, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf welcomed assistance provided the institution by friendly countries and other international partners, but maintained that the long-term solution of the country’s health care delivery services lies in the training of more Liberian doctors to effectively carry out their national responsibility.
To achieve this goal, President Johnson Sirleaf, officially referred to as ‘Visitor to the University’, said UL’s administration must draw up a plan of action that will address the curriculum and other academic and administrative matters. Such measures, the President hoped, could double the output of the medical school if successfully implemented. She described as unacceptable the low number of doctors graduating from the University and assured the University that Government will exert all efforts to attract more assistance based on a plan drawn out by the administration.
Liberia’s partners, the President said, have already begun responding to the institution’s needs, but stressed that a comprehensive plan is needed to mobilize the necessary resources for the college. Some progress, the President acknowledged, has been made in the revitalization of the college, but she admitted that much needs to be done despite progress. The President spoke of the scarcity of resources in the face of competing priorities, and stressed the need to build a sustained medical program to increase the number of trained and qualified Liberian medical doctors.
The President lauded the administration and staff of the Dogliotti for staying the course under the most difficult circumstances, and assured the University family and medical students that the college will continue to remain a priority in Government’s development programs.
The President of the University, Dr. Emmet Dennis, lauded the Liberian leader for Government’s continued support to the institution. Dr. Dennis cited the 60 percent increment in the salary for instructors and the renovation of Dogliotti College as well as an allocation of the more than USD$600,000 by the National Oil Company of Liberia, as concrete manifestation of the Government’s desire to improve UL, particularly the medical college. Dr. Dennis assured the President that the University’s administration will continue to work with Government to ensure that progress made is enhanced and sustained.
In an anniversary lecture, the chairman of the Liberian Medical Board, Dr. Robert Kpoto, lamented the flight of several of the country’s doctors during the country’s civil conflict. It is a catastrophe, the Liberian orthopedic surgeon said, that Liberia continues to lose doctors to other countries, urging Government to invest more in health care and medicine, which he described as a pillar of national development.
In a welcome statement, the President of the Alumni Association of the College, Dr. Rose Jallah-Macauley, pointed out the 273-men and women graduates of the College, who make up a large proportion of doctors of various specialties and general practice in the region. Dr. Jallah-Macauley called on the alumni to join those making efforts to address the many challenges the medical college faces.
Thursday’s program, held at the auditorium of the University of Liberia, was part of programs marking the 40th anniversary of the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine. It brought together former graduates of the medical school, including former heads and deans of the school as well as former heads of the alumni association.
Agreement for the establishment of the medical school was signed in 1966 between the Liberian Government and the A. M. Dogliotti Foundation, backed by the Government of Italy, during the administration of Liberia’s 18th President, William V.S. Tubman. The college has since graduated 273 doctors. 71 percent of graduates of the college are Liberians.
Press Secretary to the President