Liberia: Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts Students Receiving Lessons In Dilapidated Structures

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Monrovia – Disaster looms for students of the government-run Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts (TNIMA) who have to deal with the threat of learning in a dilapidated dormitory being used as classrooms.

The dormitory at TNIMA, Liberia’s premier institution for training of physician assistants and nurses, FrontPageAfrica gathered, was shut down in 2015 by the then administration of the school due its decay state, but the current administration decided to use the dormitory as classrooms for students.

Students say the deep cracks in the walls of the dormitory pose great danger to them and make learning unbearable.

“We can’t be learning health-related issues and be risking our lives in a dormitory that has so many cracks,” one student who requested anonymity told FrontPageAfrica.

“Most parts of the building are cracked and this poses serious threats to our lives. We are worried about our safety,” the student said.

Another student told our reporter the dormitory being used as classrooms is on the verge of collapsed and they had done all their best to call the attention of the administration but to no avail.

He said “with the administration of the school to either renovate the dormitories or assist us to extend our pleas to the government, but they have not”. 

Continuing, the student added: We have raised concerns why the dormitory is not occupied by students but is used as classrooms? A question the administration hasn’t responded to.”

The situation has yielded very little results as students still have to hold their regular class lessons in the decay dormitory.

James Crayston, director of communication at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, confirmed the condition of the dormitory as “dilapidated” and “terrible” but, however, said areas being used as classes were renovated by the administration.

“His words: “Yes, it’s true that the dormitory was shut down long before this administration because it was in a bad condition, but the side of the dormitory being used being for classes has already being renovated.”

He said plans were underway by President George Weah to renovate the dormitory but didn’t say when.

The condition of the dormitory has gained national attention and calls for its speedy renovation have heightened. 

Boakai Jaleiba, a Liberian political analyst, believes the dilapidated condition of a dormitory nurturing potential health workers of the country would undermine the capacity building process of Liberia’s health workforce.

“The government of President Weah has to pay keen attention to this crisis. We should not fail on healthcare”, he said, saying “the building of hospitals without doctors and other health workers do not go inline.

In a Facebook post, Jaleiba recalled how the scars of the Liberian Civil War was vivid on the health sector in 2006, with a dilapidating nature of the health system.

“In 2006, the number of medical doctors in the country was 51. Trained healthcare workforce was about 3,600 (Source: MOHSW Annual Report 2006 health survey). Doctor to patient ratio was 1:76000, using an estimated population of about 3.8M people,” Jaleiba noted.

He said government should introduce a list of policies measures including rendering TNIMA free of charge and providing monthly stipend to students. That, he said, would encourage more Liberians to the health profession by 2010, and by doing so a trained health workforce would increase.

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