The University of Liberia in partnership with the Indiana University and the University of Massachusetts Medical School has launched the Center for Excellence in the Health and Life Sciences.
The program is a US$7.2m USAID-Higher Education Development Grant, which is aimed at among others, improving the quality of pre-clinical curriculum at the University of Liberia Medical College by providing instructional support for four faculty in biochemistry, physiology, anatomy and pediatrics. "All of these are being implemented as we speak", said UL President, Dr. Emmet A. Dennis.
It will enhance training for nurses through a mentoring leadership program and facilitate the establishment of a public articulated BSN, with emphasis on maternal and child care, between the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts (TNIMA), which currently operates at a diploma level, and the University of Liberia. Already, two faculty are pursing Masters degrees at the Indiana University School of Nursing, according to Dr. Dennis.
The center is also to increase the number and quality of public health workers by an Associate degree program in public health management at the UL to relieve doctors of major administrative management of health centers and hospitals to allow them spend more time with patient care, as well as transform the UL curricula in biology and chemistry and provide equipment and supplies that would improve quality of instruction.
Launching the Center on Monday at the Monrovia City Hall, the Mission Director for the United States Agency for International Development in Liberia, Patricia Rader, said the grant is part of the US Government's assistance to capacity building in the country. Madam Rader said USAID is supporting agricultural program at the Cuttington University in Bong County and the Engineering College at the University of Liberia, respectively.
UL President Dr. Dennis said five planning grant proposals were submitted along with seven American universities, and that out of a total of 300 proposals, the UL and its partners received two, saying "Finally, after the review of the 30 or so strategic plans developed for and by 30 African Universities and their U.S. partners, 11 awards were made, and so the birth of the Indiana, UMass, UL Collaboration which we launch today for further development of our life and health sciences."
In response, Senate Committee Chair on Health, Dr. Peter Coleman expressed pleasure for the launch of the Center for Excellence in the Health and Life Sciences, eh noted will boost the country's health sector and promised to convey the message to the entire senate in chamber.