8 October 2015

Liberia: Lack of Specialized Doctors Hamper Health Sector

An Internal Medicine Physician at Liberia's largest referral hospital (John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital) has stated categorically that one of the factors facing the country's health sector is due to lack of specialized doctors in the country.

Doctor Philip Z. Ireland said statistics have shown that Liberia has 200 doctors, out of which, a minute figure (perhaps not more than five) are specialized doctors, the rest of surgeons and practitioners in other fields of medicine.

In an exclusive interview recently, Doctor Ireland believes that shortages of specialized doctors in the country was resulting to Liberians dying from health complications that they could have been easily cured by a specialized doctor.

He said the lack of specialized doctors in the country making it impossible to respond to the growing wave of different medical complications in the country.

Dr. Ireland explained that Liberia growing heath situation will required a minimum of 40,000 doctors, majority of whom, he thinks must be specialized doctors in handling different health problems that will arise.

His statement came at the end of a presentation on the topic: "The Post Graduate Medical Education, A Global Perspective presented by Doctor and Professor Janis P. Tupesis of the Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine.

According to Doctor Ireland, as the result of the lack of specialized medical practitioners to handle particular cases, death rate would continue to increase. He indicated that human capacity constraints, insufficient medical materials, coupled with clinical and administrative gaps, are factors that would undermine the health sector.

He called on the government to ensure that the country should have several specialized doctors (in difference fields) who will be responsible to handle complicated cases that wouldn't be handled by ordinary health practitioners.

Doctor Ireland suggested that investment should also be made in the development of training faculties as well as ensuring that systems and institutions produce good doctors and qualified nurses.

Doctor Ireland believes that adequate funding were essential to ensuring that specialized were available.

He expressed dismay that lawmakers were ignoring the leakages within the country health sector, despite they (lawmakers) attending various meetings regarding health.

For his part, Professor Janis P. Tupesis of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, said during an interview that resources were needed for faculty and residents to be put together to develop post graduate medical programs.

Career pathways, he noted is essential to be figured out from the medical school to residents, adding that it will help for career guidance and at the same building a better program in the country, especially focusing on emergency medicine.

He said that Liberia need expert who will respond to critical illness and medicine and noted that people (doctors specialize) were need as well to be able to provide expertise when it comes to critical emergency situations.

He disclosed that more than 200 doctors who graduated from the country only medical college (A.M. Deglotti ) will be train in internal medicine/pediatric.

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