The University of Liberia is taking a giant step to introduce three important programs in the area of health sciences that would help to boost manpower development in the country’s health sector.
Specifically, the University wants to introduce a certificate program in Health System Leadership and Management (CHSLM), a Bachelor of Science degree program in Public Health (BScPH) and a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) program with focal areas.
A statement issued from the UL on Thursday, 28 June says these programs were approved by the University Faculty Senate in March this year, and marks the UL’s historic move to eventually establish a School of Public Health in the country, an initiative that would significantly enhance and expand locally trained capacity to better prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats and reduce risk of catastrophic outbreaks such as the deadly Ebola Virus Disease between 2014 and 2015.
The move by the state-run University is a farsighted thought that should be applauded by all meaningful Liberians in the quest to building a resilient health system for the country. The effort also seeks to bridge the gap between what it takes to train as a medical doctor, and providing other essential services in the health sector.
The need for junior level, middle and senior personnel in our health sector cannot be overemphasized in achieving a resilient health system. Building a vibrant health system should be the first step in getting the citizenry out of poverty.
The UL says the BSc program in Public Health is intended to prepare recent high school graduates with sufficient knowledge and training into public health workforce in entry-level positions in order to function effectively in those roles.
Indeed, this is where focus should be concentrated in creating a workforce for the health sector that would learn the basics as they climb the ladder. Without the fundamentals, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to make any significant impact.
After the prolonged civil crisis, the health sector, like many other sectors in the country has been plagued with various challenges, ranging from lack of equipment, poor facilities, and brain drain.
We need qualified personnel in areas such as Nursing, Midwifery, Physician Assistant, Environmental Health, Public Health, Management, Sociology, and Social Work, among others.
It is our hope that authorities at the University of Liberia would source all rightful partners with support from the Government of Liberia in bringing this dream of building a strong and qualified workforce for the health sector to reality.