Liberian Neurosurgeon and commencement Speaker at the University of Liberia (UL) 101st Joint – Convocation, Md. Alvin Nah-Doe, has said budgetary allocation for the health sector must be increased in order to ensure that patients have access to quality healthcare.

“One fundamental basis for improving the health system through innovation begins with increasing budgetary allocation for the sector. As the saying goes … Health is wealth and I will add by extension that a quality health system begets a wealthy nation,” Dr. Doe said Monday, March 3, 2021.

Delivering the commencement speech at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville for the final of UL’s four college-based convocations for the 101st “Meni Nina” Class of 2020, Dr. Doe said “An improved health system is a public good [that] reduces the loss of productive time and also reduces the health burden on the country.”

Dr. Doe asserted that one of the most important ways to improve health in least developed  or low – income countries like Liberia is by educating citizens through investment in education. “Educating people enables them to obtain safer jobs, increased health literacy, take preventive healthcare measures, avoid riskier health behaviors and demand better – quality health services,” he added. The surgeon pointed out that improving the nation’s health literacy is critical to creating a system of care based on wellness and prevention–which he considered the foundation of any public health system.

Speaking specifically about his profession, as a neurosurgeon, Dr. Doe explained that the burden of neurosurgical illness on Liberia’s population is enormous and he then proffered suggestions he thinks would remedy the situation.

 “Train more neurosurgeons and the entire neurosurgical team as well as other specialized doctors, nurses and professionals in other fields of medicine, pharmacy and health care,” he said.

Dr. Doe also recommended improvement of the emergency and other services as well as ensuring the availability of a functioning MRI [Magnetic Resonance Imaging] at national referral facilities. He pleaded with the government to transform the neurosurgical subunit into a full unit. “Secure equipment and consumables which will enhance our performance,” Dr. Doe appealed.

Regarding personal hygiene practices, he said “Poor personal hygiene can result in increased risk of infection and illness, consequently creating many social problems.”

“We should engage in good hygiene practices that keep us safe from many diseases and help us take care of our health appropriately,” said Dr. Doe.

He added that there are some behaviors, like urinating or defecating in public, which are very bad and more often “we don’t see them as unacceptable and unlawful.”

The Visitor

Making remarks at the 101st UL joint – convocation, the President of the Republic of Liberia and Visitor of the University of Liberia, Dr. George Manneh Weah, said the most outstanding thing that grabbed his attention was the fact that UL’s oldest college, the Liberia College has for the first time graduating more females than males.

“I have been informed that 235 of the total number of graduates from [this college] are females, while 203 are males,” President Weah said.

 He described it as an outstanding achievement and it is sufficient evidence that UL is making progress in reducing the disparity between males and females in the education sector.

 The Visitor of UL thanked the President of the University of Liberia and his team for achieving this historic milestone.

 He said the female-leaning gender composition of the 101st UL graduating class is “heart – warming” for him as “Liberia’s Feminist – in – Chief.” The President extended heartfelt congratulations to all 3,312 graduates for their commitment and dedication.

 The Visitor recommitted that his government will play its part to ensure that some of the boundaries that prevent female enrollment into institutions of higher learning are identified and removed.“…This is why in the first year in office, we introduced the tuition free policy for all public universities and colleges. This policy is now being debated at the National Legislature in order to transition into law,” he said.

 President Nelson: a bold new beginning

Earlier in his message to the 101st “Meni Nina” class of 2020, the President of the University of Liberia, Rev. Dr. Julius J. S. Nelson, Jr., said “Today, we are producing 3,312 graduands at this 101st Commencement Convocation,” thanking God who has given the victory.

 “Just  a few months ago, we made history by conducting UL’s first E-Learning program that ended the second semester of Academic 2019/2020, which has allowed us to gather here today under normal circumstances,” Dr. Nelson said.

 According to him, the 101st class is proud to be considered the university’s first class to experience the E- Learning program.

Regarding the university’s effort to reduce dependency on the national government, Dr. Nelson noted that UL has identified various investment initiatives that have the potential of generating revenue to augment the government’s subsidy under the Lux Investment Corporation. “We are currently sourcing funding for these projects and have estimated the start – up cost at US$3 Million,” he said.

He also announced that through various partnerships/scholarships, the university has a total of 11 faculty members who have returned from studies with 10 masters’ degrees and one doctorate degree, this year in various disciplines. “Two are females and nine are males. We also have a total of twelve (12) faculty members who left this past year for studies including seven (7) Ph.Ds. and five (5) Masters,” Dr. Nelson continued.

The Vals

For his part, Dorbor Blama, Valedictorian of the Undergraduate Colleges, on behalf of his colleagues, indicated that they were overjoyed and extended gratitude to the university administration for their hard work that made the day a success.

Addressing his fellow graduates, Dorbor said the only thing that will help them to achieve their goals is self – confidence, reminding them to always exhibit positive attitude and self – confidence in their future endeavors.

Also speaking, Samuel Kaybu Hinneh, Sr., Valedictorian for the Graduate and Professional Schools, urged his fellow graduates to go out and make Liberia first again.

 “Go out and provide first class services to the business and financial institutions in Africa and the world,” he said to the business students.

 “Go out, our medical doctors and restore quality in our health sector,” he added.