The United States Government, through its Embassy near Monrovia, has donated two coastal buses to the University of Liberia (UL) for use by the faculty and students of the College of Health Sciences.

Delivering the keys of the two buses to the President of the University of Liberia Rev. Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Michael A. McCarthy, said the donation of the vehicles is made possible by the USAID Partnership for Enhanced Engagement and Research (PEER) grant which has already produced wonderful results.

“I’m delighted today to join you to give President Nelson the keys to the vehicles. It’s the people of the United States [that] are donating to the University of Liberia,”Amb. McCarthy said during the ceremony at UL Medical School in Congo Town Friday, July 9, 2021.

He said the PEER grant has created a network between the University of Liberia and three universities in the U.S., among which are Yale and the University of Massachusetts.

Amb. McCarthy noted that the network is giving the University of Liberia a faculty development program which strengthens the skills of lecturers and instructors to be better teachers and strengthen medical education in Liberia.

He added that through the program, the University of Liberia College of Health Sciences and the A.M. Dogliotti Medical School enrolled seven teaching apprentices at the University of Ghana to specialize in Pre – Clinical Teaching courses.

He continued that these teachers are supposed to return in the next three years to [teach] the courses as full time instructors at the University of Liberia.

The U.S. envoy further said very soon there will also be one infectious disease specialist in HIV treatment and care as a result of this valuable partnership.

“The U.S. Government celebrates all of these gains with our Liberian counterparts,” he said, while presenting the keys to the two buses to Dr. Nelson to transport students and faculty from one clinical practice site to another.

Amb. McCarthy indicated that these are critical times and Covid has made things more challenging, but applauded Dr. Nelson as well as the Vice President for Health Sciences Dr. Bernice Dahn and the entire university team for being able to continue work to ensure that it remains open and with a low incidence of Covid infection among staff and students. “We are very, very pleased to be able to continue the success of this effort with the donation of these buses today,” Amb. McCarthy concluded.

Receiving the keys, UL President Dr. Nelson expressed gratitude to Amb. McCarthy and the people of the United States for their continuous partnership with the government and people of Liberia, most especially, the University of Liberia.

He said the governments and peoples of the two nations have come a long way, expressing hope that moving to the future, the partnership will grow from strength to strength. Dr. Nelson also assured that the university will work closely with Amb. McCarthy to ensure that the relationship continues.

In applauding the efforts of UL Vice President for Health Sciences toward the initiative, Dr. Nelson said “today we come to see the fruit of Dr. Dahn and her team” in the PEER grant and other grants that are being worked out between the University of Liberia and several other institutions of higher learning in the United States.

He noted that the faculty members that are in Ghana and those that are being processed to go out will strengthen the faculty development profile at the College of Health Sciences and the entire University of Liberia.

Dr. Nelson also said he was grateful that since the arrival of Amb. McCarthy, they have been together several times in different situations, and hoped that the opportunity will continue the partnership between the University of Liberia and the government and people of the United States.

Earlier, UL Vice President for Health Sciences Dr. Dahn thanked Amb. McCarthy for turning over the two buses to UL, saying she also looked forward to a US$15m project that has been approved by USAID.

She said a kickoff section for the project was held on Monday, 5 July, 2021 noting that they were finalizing the work plan and the detailed budget and hopefully implementation should start soon.

According to Dr. Dahn, about two years ago, a joint research grant agreement from USAID was signed with the National Academy of Sciences with priorities to strengthen medical education especially for the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine and to strengthen specialty training and capacity building.

For the A.M. Dogliotti College of Health Sciences, Dr. Dahn noted that partnership was forged with a number of U.S. institutions, particularly Yale University and Boston University, among others.

Additionally, Dr. Dahn said a consortium of universities was formed to help strengthen research within the institutions, adding that the consortium has reviewed the medical school curriculum and revised it from a nine to seven – year program.

She said UL hopes to begin implementing the revised curriculum by the next academic year.

UL Vice President for Administration Madam Benetta Joko Tarr expressed appreciation to Amb. McCarthy for his willingness to work with the university, saying the university has a good relationship with the U.S. envoy.

“These buses, you can rest assured they are going to be maintained,” Madam Tarr said.

She also thanked Dr. Dahn for knowing how to work with people, getting things done for the benefit of the university and for being able to convince Amb. McCarthy.