A. M. Dogloitti Decries Filthiness – Plan Strike For Unpaid Stipends
Monrovia – The A. M. Dogloitti College of Medicine is the only medical college in Liberia. The facility consists of three filthy buildings, right next to the Atlantic Ocean.
Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo/ [email protected]
Nearly every Liberian doctor in the country’s Ebola wards studied there, in buildings that have no running water.
According to the Liberia Medical and Dental Council, there are currently 298 medical doctors catering for the country’s 4.5 million people, making the doctor per patient ratio 1:15,000.
The field of specialty is limited. The LMDC statistics, which were last updated on July 15, noted that there are currently 207 general practitioners, 18 Public Health Specialists, 15 Pediatricians, 12 Surgeons, 10 Gynecologists, 6 Ophthalmologists, 8 Internal Medicine Specialists, 6 Dentists, 4 Family Medicine Specialists, and 2 Orthopedics.
Liberia also only has two Radiologists, one Pathologist, four Psychiatrists, one ear, nose and throat Specialist, one Veterinarian, and one Dermatologist.
The figures show that the number of doctors is increasing, from the 231 reported last year. However, the figure is still far from the 1:1,000 doctors to patient ratio recommended by the World Health Organization.
Dr. Lekilay Tehmeh of the LMDC attributed the cause of the poor doctor to patient ratio to the civil war. He said the turmoil caused most of the doctors to immigrate to other countries.
For many graduates, a medical degree is a ticket to a good life outside Liberia.
“The salaries here are bad. There are no incentives. For years, our doctors have left for the glitz and glamour of the First World,” said Dr. V. Kanda Golakai, the dean of the medical school. “That’s why we have a dysfunctional health-care system.”
According to a source who requested for anonymity, currently there are 5 students per room on the dormitory.
“We have 4-5 persons in a room. Look at the dormitory building—it is filthy—there is no electricity, no internet, and the hygiene is not conducive,” the source decried.
The source added that during a meeting with the Senate Committee Chair on Health, Grand Kru County Senator Peter Coleman, he requested that the 7 months stipend be waived and instead of US$200, the stipend should be sliced in half.
“We met Senator Coleman and he told us that the first year students will not be included in the stipend and it’s gruesome because first year is tedious—we attend classes from 8am-6pm—what life do we have out of here when we were told not to work or get involved in any other business as the new curriculum depicts that,” one angry source said.
It can be recalled President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf met the leaders of the school on the issue of stipend, requesting them to waive 7 months and were pay for 6 months.
The students said they are planning to do a sit in action and strike at the Foreign Ministry to seek President Sirleaf’s attention.
“We feel that if the sit in action is done, it will grab attention. The medical school has been abandoned so why wouldn’t we seek better jobs and salaries abroad because our Government is paying less attention to us as medical students.”
“Our dormitory lacks basic needs, the buildings are filthy, no water, electricity, how do they want students to pursue sciences, nothing is encouraging as far we are concerned,” some of the aggrieved students told FrontPageAfrica.
The A.M. Dogliotti Medical College was added to the University of Liberia in 1968, and was opened in a partnership between Italy’s A.M. Dogliotti Foundation and the Government of Liberia; a School of Pharmacy was also at the medical school.