By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – The 40th Annual General Scientific Meeting of the West African College of Physicians has ended in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, with a commitment to assist countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak to rebuild their health system.
In a communiqué, the College has also agreed to assist governments and stake holders in the sub region to conduct research on infectious diseases.
The college among other things, has at the same time agreed to provide high quality training of medical specialists of international standards capable of meeting the health needs of the region.
The 40th Annual General Scientific Meeting of the West African College of Physicians took place in Monrovia from October 31 – November 3, 2016.
During the official opening ceremonies, the Keynote Speaker, Liberia’s Vice President, Joseph Boakai called on medical practitioners to use their expertise in addressing the critical health issues in the region.
Vice President Boakai indicated that as a professional medical organization in the region, lot is expected of medical doctors in bridging the gap in the health delivery system in the country.
VP Boakai said as part of the efforts of the region to improve the health delivery system, the Liberian Government has put in place programs to train more health care workers.
He noted that government has achieved the Millennium Development Goal-number four in the reduction of child mortality.
He said this goal was achieved based on the unwavering efforts and commitment of the health delivery system across the 15 counties of Liberia.
Speaking on the theme: “Building a Resilient Health System in West Africa: Social Economic and Political implications”, Vice President Boakai said the government of Liberia has made gains in intervention programs that improved maternal health and basic packages of health services that were established in 2007.
Making remarks, Liberia’s health Minister, Dr. Bernice Dahn said building resilient health care systems will require strong government systems for the health care sector in their planning ,financial management, and the accountability in the region.
Dr. Dahn said governments in the region need to take charge of coordination and properly align with each other to ensure that the region builds a resilient health system in West Africa.
The Liberian health Minister said the government of Liberia has developed an investment plan for the building of a resilient health system in nine areas, each of which is a building block for a well-functioning health care delivery system for the Liberian people.
Minister Dahn said the building a vibrant and resilient health system also require about 1.5 billion United States dollars to fully improve the health sector of Liberia for the next seven years.
For his part, the President of the West African College of Physicians, Dr. Kalifa Bojang said the theme of this year’s celebration is apt and timely as they seek to rebuild the weak health care system in the region after the devastating outbreak of the Ebola Virus.
Dr. Bojang said the existence of WACP over the last forty years is a milestone, especially being relevant as a body and repositioning to the changing dynamics of health care training and education.
He said the organization’s strategic plan cycle is due for renewal and they will use its meeting as an opportunity to plan ahead for the next 10 years and beyond.
For her part, the newly installed President of the College, Dr. Ifeoma Egbuonu, promised to source out support in moving the College forward.
Dr. Egbuonu said her tenure will be a continuity maintaining standard, mobilization and participation.
The 4-Day Symposium looked at diverse medical topics including combating the threats of highly infectious diseases (HIDs) in West Africa.
The sub theme of the discussion was the post-Ebola outbreak response in the three most affected countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The West African College of Physicians (The College) was formally inaugurated in Lagos, Nigeria 23rd of October, 1976.
It was one of two constituent Colleges of the West African Postgraduate Medical College (WAPMC), which was the largest specialized Agency of the former West African Health Community (WAHC).
In 2001, WAHC merged with their Francophone counterparts to form the West African Health Organization (WAHO) under the auspices of ECOWAS. The College works closely with WAHO.
The membership of the College originally covered the five English-speaking countries in West Africa; the Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
Following the establishment of WAHO, the College had an increasing number of Fellows in the French-speaking ECOWAS countries.
Of the Francophone Chapters (Benin, Ivory Coast and Senegal), the Ivory Coast was the first to be inaugurated. Currently there are also Fellows in Burkina Faso and Mali.
The Faculty is the academic/specialist unit of the College and there are presently six Facilities: Community Health, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Laboratory Medicine, Pediatrics and Psychiatry.
All the Fellows and Members of the College in a member country irrespective of their Faculties, constitute a Chapter of the College. Currently, there are over 2000 Fellows of the College.
The major functions of the College are: Organization of professional specialist postgraduate medical training in West Africa, through formal courses, workshops, conferences, etc. The certification of specialists in six major disciples through a program of examinations.