Liberia: World Bank Empowers AM Dogliotti College of Medicine

The World Bank Liberia Country Office donates two buses to the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, University of Liberia, to facilitate movement of students and faculty to and from the Fendall Campus outside Monrovia. The cost for the buses is put at US$121,000.00, including comprehensive insurance for a year.

Making the presentation at the Ministry of Health in Congo Town, World Bank Liberia Country Manager, Dr. Khwima Nthara, says the two new vehicles (30 and 18-seater buses) will maximize use of the newly constructed dormitories and clinical skills laboratory at the Fendall Campus.

Receiving keys to the vehicles, Liberia's Minister of Health Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, thanks the World Bank for providing the buses, which is in fulfillment of the Bank's promise a year ago. Minister Jallah praises the bank for supporting the Health Workforce Program (HWP) which is one of the key pillars of the Ministry of Health's Investment Plan for a Resilient Health System. She also lauds the World Bank for providing immense support for infrastructure development which is an integral part of workforce development.

The Dean of the College of Agriculture and Forestry, at the University, Dr. Moses Zinnah, who represented University of Liberia President, Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson, Jr., thanks the Bank and the Ministry of Health for the vehicles.

Dr. Zinnah notes that the vehicles will aid faculty and students of the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine commute between Monrovia and the Fendall Campus for classes and the John F. Kennedy Hospital for teaching, learning and clinical rotations.

"The A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine was founded in 1968, once considered a model for medical training in West Africa", he recalls but laments that economic constraints, political turmoil and disease outbreaks have taken a toll on the medical school, impeding the quality of medical education and sometimes jeopardizing its very existence. However, he praises the heroic dedication of the faculty, administrators and students, which is leading the College to continue training doctors for Liberia.

The handover ceremony was attended by Dr. Bernice Dahn, Vice President for Health Sciences, University of Liberia, Madam Norwu Howard, Deputy Minister for Administration, Ministry of Health, Matthew Flomo, Project Manager and other senior officials of the Ministry of Health.

Recently, Dr. Nthara said, the World Bank provided initial support of US$2.45m to finance construction of two state of the art and fully furnished 48-bed dormitories, two furnished classrooms and one skills laboratory. "This support was aimed at strengthening the learning environment of the A. M. Dogliotti College of Medicine, thus enhancing the health workforce and contributing to the improvement of health care services in Liberia," he added.

The support then was in response to findings of the comprehensive assessment of training institutions conducted by the Ministry of Health in 2015, whose results revealed the poor learning environment and living conditions that contributed to low enrollment and high attrition of medical students, the World Bank Country Manager points out.

The assessment findings included: unstable electricity and internet; lack of a skills lab to learn through hands-on practice; and, overcrowded dormitories with no desks or tables for studying. Previously, 18 students were housed in each 3-bedroom apartment, with six students sharing a bedroom, and all 18 students sharing one bathroom with no running water. Therefore, the new dormitory and skills laboratory project was commissioned on December 20, 2018 to address these bottlenecks.

Following commissioning of the dormitory, Dr. Nthara discloses there were further requests from the A. M. Dogliotti College of Medicine and the Ministry of Health for procurement of transformer to power the dormitory, and vehicles to convey students and faculties who are not currently accommodated on site to ensure fulfillment of the objectives of the initial support provided by the World Bank.

The Country Manager expresses happiness that the World Bank has once again responded to these requests, but appeals to the A. M. Dogliotti College of Medicine and the Ministry of Health to ensure proper maintenance of the vehicles and the dormitories to serve the purpose for which they were procured.

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