Dr. Rick Sacra, a Family Physician at the ELWA Hospital, Monrovia in Liberia said, “ELWA is a Christian mission hospital. We're focused on trying to provide care to people who otherwise couldn't afford it, and doing it in the name of Christ. We pray with our patients. We share scripture with them, encouragement from God's word. So it's a really wonderful place to put together the hands-on aspects of Christian love with the Gospel. It has about 100 beds and been here for fifty years, but this is a brand new facility. It's about twice as large as our old one. So we really appreciate God's provision of that for us.
I have been praying about and thinking about starting family medicine training here in Liberia for over ten years now. And we actually presented this as a proposal in 2013, but it took quite a while to get all the approvals and the OK's to do it. Obviously the Ebola epidemic delayed things, but actually improved the quality of our collaboration with the Health Ministry and so made it possible. So we just got started in the middle of 2017 with three residents. We hope to add four residents each year for a four-year program, to take people from being basically trained physicians to fully trained specialists in primary care and family medicine.
Ibrahim Sanoe, a first year participant of the Family Medicine Residency Program said, “the Liberian College of Physicians and Surgeons was established roughly four years ago. It started with four departments; Pediatric, Surgery, OBGYN and Internal Medicine. Last year that the Family Medicine Residency program was added and we are the first set of students. We are three in number. We have spent six months into the program. We started with the ELWA Hospital, which is the main training hospital for the program. I happen to be the first student to come for rotation and will be here for three months. I will be rotating both OBGYN and General Surgery. Each will run for six months, so I am almost completing the OBGYN rotation. By next week I should be starting general surgery!
MAF is so helpful. Traveling by air better than by road, especially in our part of the world, where our roads are in bad shape, are not paved and have lots of potholes. So, flying by air is the best for our part of the world. Travel by road in one word, is time consuming. It’s a waste of time.
Dr. Sanoe continued, “Liberia has few doctors, we are short of everything. In fact, in all of the disciplines, not only medicine, we are short of everything. But medicine being one of the cornerstones of every nation, if you really want to grow good, you need a good medical environment. Because a sick person will not work, will not contribute to the economy. I just feel that because of this shortage, and because our people need to remain well while they are working, I feel that I should contribute my own quota to the nation building by offering at least myself to do medicine”.