President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has described as rewarding the collaboration between the University of Liberia (UL), Indiana University (IU) and the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Medical Center.
The collaboration between the two universities and the government referral hospital has led to the near completion of a nursing curriculum to be included in the UL academic program that will lead to the establishment of a School of Nursing.
According to an Executive Mansion release, in remarks to the 11-member delegation comprising the IU Schools of Nursing and Business, President Sirleaf said she was happy that the collaboration was moving forward and was about to bring to fruition plans to further strengthen government's effort to improve health care.
She told the delegation that although infrastructural development remains cardinal to Liberia's post-war recovery, education remains government's top-most priority, which is not a quick fix but requires long-term planning and efforts to bring it to realization.
The Liberian leader thanked the IU for being part of the solution to rebuild Liberia's human resource capacity.
Commenting on the recent strike action by health workers witnessed by the IU delegation, President Sirleaf said their action was further demonstration of Liberia's democracy that her government has strongly supported. She added that government is committed to improving the working conditions of health workers across Liberia.
The Dean of the IU School of Nursing, Ms. Marion E. Broome, speaking earlier, said she was glad that the partnership was about to realize a long-term dream, and would remain committed to the collaboration to see that UL executes the program. She renewed IU's unflinching support to the development of the School of Nursing at the State-run University as their way of supporting President Sirleaf's development agenda.
The Head of the IU Kelley School of Business, Mr. Philip Cochran, said he was impressed at the progress made so far, describing it as "breath-taking" since his last visit to Liberia over a year ago. He expressed, on behalf of the IU Kelley School of Business, the hope that the partnership would benefit the three institutions and their respective countries as well.
In separate remarks, UL President, Dr. Emmet Dennis, and JFK Medical Center Chief Administrator, Dr. Wvannie Mae Scott-McDonald expressed gratitude to President Sirleaf whose leadership created the enabling environment for the formation of the partnership.
Dr. Dennis informed the President that the first admittance of students into the School of Nursing would commence September of this year at the UL.
Dr. Scott-McDonald told President Sirleaf that the curriculum of the School of Nursing, although taking time to complete, is nearly concluded and will be ready for the September 2014 entry of students.
The JFK Chief Administrator welcomed President Sirleaf's suggestion that the current Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts (TNIMA) should serve as a feeder school to the proposed School of Nursing at the UL. She said this will erase the perception that government is about to close down the TNIMA and replace it with the UL School of Nursing.
Students graduating from TNIMA's three-year programs, when enrolled at the University of Liberia's School of Nursing, will have only two years to obtain Bachelors of Science (BSc) degrees in their area of specialization. The first class is expected to graduate in 2016.
The curriculum, according to Dr. Scott-McDonald, is structured in line with the West African College of Medicine program, with help from Indiana University, in order to remain on par with the sub-region and the rest of the world since the WACM is internationally recognized.