Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sierra Leone, Professor Aiah Gbakima has told 176 qualified doctors, pharmacists, nurses and pharmacy technicians at their swearing in ceremony not to abandon the country for greener pastures.
The College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences has produced the 13th set of graduates and the first set of B.sc Hons nursing. There were seven doctors, nine pharmacists, five B.Sc Hons in nursing together with 45 in pharmacy and 61 certificate in nursing.
Professor Gbakima urged the graduants to remember the oath to their commitment to render diligent and professional service in the discharge of their duties and to keep sacred services rendered.
He told them: “let your focus be towards providing quality service with the sole aim of saving lives. Let not the quest for material benefits diverts your attention from wholeheartedly committing yourself to providing quality service to your patients.”
The graduants were told that they would better grasp the necessary rudiments in their practice with patience, diligence and sincerity. And urged them that, “we do realize the precarious economic situation in our country but that should not be a premise for you to abandon your motherland for so-called greener pastures”
He cautioned them that, “the country needs you to stay behind and help turn the situation around. If all of us could make our inputs in our various vocations then Sierra Leone will make a quick recovery.” The vice chancellor recognized that the attrition of doctors, pharmacists and nurses was very discouraging and having a very negative impact on the health sector as graduates point out the poor conditions of work.
Despite that he told them to remember “ that almost 90% of you here received government sponsorship during your course of study and it will be reasonable and patriotic of you to offer at least three years post-qualification service to the nation as a sign of gratitude for the tax payers contribution to making you what you are”.
The deputy vice chancellor of the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, Professor S.M Gevao, adjudged them to be well trained and competent professionals produced by the college to serve the nation.
Chairman for the ceremony, Dr Patrick Eustace Coker, told the graduants of the challenge in front of them and to take note of the cautions made to them. He called on government to double the salary of medicos who have special role to play.
Since the inception of the college, 95 doctors and 30 pharmacists have graduated and only between 10-20% still remain within the country.
The students’ union president of the college, Mukeh Kenneth Fahnbuleh whilst giving the vote of thanks, said it was not out of unpatriotism that doctors leave but out of the Le230, 000 monthly salary for junior doctors and Le244 for senior pharmacists. “These figures need to change,” he said. N’falie Sesay was the best medical student and Mustapha H.Moiforay best practical nursing student; overall best student diploma in nursing Joanna Joseph whilst Osman Sanu was the best practical certificate student in nursing and Angela M. Macauley overall best student certificate in nursing.