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West African College of Physicians Holds Scientific Meeting, Lecture Series

The Liberia Chapter of the West African College of Physicians on Friday May 24, 2019 held its 3rdAnnual General and Scientific Meeting (AGSM) and the 12th J. N. Tobga Lecture Series.

The West African College of Physicians was established in 1976. It is an association of medical specialists, which among many other things seek to promote professional training of physicians and the standards of professional practice, ethics and the morals of physicians as well as promote health and healthcare in West Africa

Fellows and Members in the various countries are organized into Chapters.Currently, the College has established a Chapter in all West African counties except Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde.

The 3rdAGSM of the Liberia Chapter also featured the 12thedition of the J. N. Togba Lecture.

The J. N. Togba Lecture series is  in honored of the late Dr. Joseph Nagbe Togba, former Secretary of Health and Executive Director of John F. Kennedy Hospital, Chair of the Department of Community Health at the A. M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, University of Liberia, Dr. Joseph N. Togba, Sr. for his immense contributions to medical education and health care delivery services in Liberia.

The meeting was held under the theme: “Universal Health Coverage in Liberia;Challenges & Prospects.”

The selection of the theme was to identify and appreciate the cardinal roles and responsibilities of health professionals in making Liberia a safer place and healthier nation, Dr. Rose M. Jallah Macauley, Chair of the Liberia Chapter and Vice President of the College of West African College of Physicians said.

In a welcome statement,Dr. Macauley explained that the Liberia Chapter is one of the five foundation chapters of the West African College of Physicians, along with the Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Nigeria Chapters.

Dr. Macauley disclosed that these five chapters were formally inaugurated in Lagos, Nigeria on October 23, 1976.

According to Dr. Macauley, since joining the college as a small chapter in terms of the number of fellows and members, the Liberia Chapter has remained committed.

“Although a small chapter, the fellows and members of this Chapter have worked hard and performed on par with other chapters in the College,” Dr. Macauley said amidst applause.

This chapter, Dr. Rose indicated has successfully hosted three annual general and scientific meetings of the College in Liberia.

She explained that the last two were held in this decade and noted.  She noted, “over the years, we have not only raised the bar, but we have been an inspiration to other chapters, especially the smaller chapters”.

She also added: “Our junior colleagues continued to bring pride to our country by doing exceptionally well in the qualifying examinations”.

She lauded the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health for the cooperation and continual support the chapter continues to receive and thanked Dr.Yveline Agbo Houenou, President of the West African College for gracing the occasion.

In remarks, Dr. Houenou corroborated that the Liberia Chapter has continued to grow from strength to strength and indicated that recent efforts have culminated in the needs accreditation visit to Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) and JFK Memorial Hospitals in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and thus has yielded fruits increasing numbers of Liberian residents passing the primary and membership examinations.

“We applaud fellows who have taken time to come to Liberia as trainers. Your labour has not been in vain,” she expressed.

Dr. Houenou disclosed that the college in 2017 purchased a Biotechnical Chemistry Analyzer for the use of the JFK hospital and sent Dr. Amos Gadzama, a Chemical Pathologists who mentored the technologist on the use of the chemical Analyzer as well as lectures onchemical pathology to residents.

“This moment is unmistakably special. Amidst the euphoria, sober realities exist, realities that are confronting our nation and indeed the West African sub region. There is the need for health systems strengthening and shoring our manpower needs,” she said.

Dr. Houenou hopes that the current level of cooperation between the college and the Liberian Government as well as the new Liberia College will be sustained and geared towards yielding lasting dividends.

Representatives of several colleges including the Ministry of Health provided good will messages during the program.

The Chair for Liberia Chapter of the West Africa College of Surgeons, Prof. Samuel V. Freeman hopes that the AGSM will be a great success and contribute to continuous quality healthcare education and quality healthcare delivery in Liberia and the sub-region.

Asst. Professor Hasipha C. Tarpeh, Sr. in a goodwill message delivered on behalf of West Africa Postgraduate College of Pharmacists said today records show that it is no longer the absence of trained manpower rather our biggest challenge is the absence of relevant tools, equipment and materials to work within the discharge of necessary health services.

The Chairperson of the Liberia Chapter of the College of West African College of Nursing, Mrs. Ramatta Kogar recognized the contributions of physicians to the healthcare delivery and said they (nurses) are very strong pillars enhancing the works of physicians across the country.

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Health, Rep. Joseph Sowarbi assured the Liberia Chapter of the West African College of Physicians of budgetary support as they help to strengthen the healthcare delivery system of Liberia.

World Health Organization (WHO) Acting Representative to Liberia, Dr. Mesfin G. Zbelo severed as lecturer of the 12thJ. N. Togba Lecture series.

Dr. Zbelo spoke on the topic: “Universal health coverage in Context: Challenges and prospects for Liberia.”

During the program, four medical doctors including Benjamin L. Harris, Ivan Camanor, Vuyu Kanda Golakai and Tabeh Freeman, Sr. were honored, certificated and presented with distinguished service award by West African College of Physicians Liberia Chapter for the contributions to the medical profession and healthcare delivery in Liberia.

The Scientific Section attracted several presenters including Prof. Sunny Chinenye, Dr. John V. Ssentamu and Dr. Ian Wachekwa, they all spoke on ‘Diabetes Care in Liberia-Challenges, Solutions and Prospects.

Other presenters were Dr. Jacquelin Pierre, who spoke on Patient characteristics and capacity building initiatives at joint MOH-PIH NCD clinics in Maryland County.

Dr. Rebecca Cook did a presentation on “Achieving Universal Health coverage in Maryland County: Practical experience for leadership to monitor progress and gaps of sub national level”.

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