30 November 2012

Liberia: Row Over Chinese-Trained Doctors

The debate over the qualification of Liberian medical doctors trained in China continued yesterday with callers condemning the two physicians who initially raised qualms about the academic success of the new professionals.

One caller strongly warned that if Liberians insist on stressing that Liberians sent to China for training were unqualified, China, a leading supporter of Liberia, will probably withdraw its aid to Liberia.

Another said Liberia needs partnership, especially when the war-ravaged nation strives to recover from the spoils of the devastating civil war.

Another caller castigated Dr. Robert Kpoto, one of the critics of the Chinese-trained Liberian doctors, for behaving like "the best medical doctor in Liberia," and said Dr. Kpoto's medical credentials need checking.

Those who initially raised qualms about the qualification of the Liberians were asked to rethink.

The debate erupted when more people began to cast doubt over the qualification of China-Trained Liberian doctors. The head of the National Commission on Higher Education also expressed the possibility that the students were not properly vetted for and qualified for the program.

Dr. Michael Slawon also the expressed the possibilities that the students did not attend accredited university in China or the committee that vetted them for the program did not do its work properly.

It can be recalled that two executives of the Liberia Medical and Dental Council (LMDC) condemned the Chinese-trained Liberian doctors that they cannot perform up to standard.

Addressing a news conference in Monrovia recently, two executives of the LMDC, Dr. Robert Kpoto and Dr. Nyanquoi Kargbo said "They fail to meet the minimum requirement set-up by the LMDC."

They told the new conference that LMDC was concerned because doctors deal directly with the lives of human beings and as such, to have unqualified doctors from China to operate or treat a patient was worrisome.

Even though the two LMDC executives did point out any incident of mal-practice on the part of the Chinese-trained Liberian doctors, they said Chinese Doctors operating in the country also fall in the same category of the Chinese-Trained Liberian doctors.

Asked who should be responsible for the performance of the candidates, Dr. Michael Slawond cited three reasons: the inproper vetting of the students, the students did not study propperly, and they might not have attended accredited schools in China.

"Another question will be did they attend accredited institutions. If they were good and did not attend better institutions, then they can come back with substandard degree or bogus degree" he said.

Asked whether he shares the opinion that the relations between Liberia could be soured due to the status do the Chinese-trained Liberians, he said "No not at all. What he (Dr. Kpoto) had done is in the interest of the Liberian people and in the interest of the Chinese Government.

He said if a degree from China and the degree holders "cannot perform you need to ask yourself why. Why is this happening and where did they go to study?

Asked whether Dr. Kpoto could be condemned for the statement, he replied "He cannot be condemned. You want to condemn him? Go and give him license?"

But following the public criticized Dr. Kpoto including some of the students who for the statement.

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