Prior to the 1990 civil war, Liberia had developed a vibrant medical education system that attracted students from throughout West Africa and produced excellent clinicians and academicians. Among the most profound and long lasting impacts of the Liberian civil war (1990-2003) were the decimation of the country’s educational and health systems.
Health data in 2012 revealed that there were approximately two hundred fifteen (215) registered and licensed physicians in the country. Of those registered physicians, one hundred and forty-four (144) were Liberian doctors and less than fifteen (15) were specialized clinical physicians. Undoubtedly, this severe shortage of specialist physicians prevents the Government of Liberia (GoL), through the Ministry of Health (MoH), from meeting its global human resources for health index and, particularly for specialist physicians as enshrined in the 10-Year National Health Policy & Plan for 2011-2021. This shortage of specialist physicians continues to severely limit access to basic healthcare for the country’s 4 million plus inhabitants.
In response to the country’s critical shortage of physicians, on 22nd May 2013 the National Legislature signed into handbill an Act establishing the Liberian College of Physicians and Surgeons (LCPS). Later that year, a technical working group set up by the Minister of Health, Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale and headed by the Chief Medical Officer of the Republic of Liberia, Dr. Bernice T. Dahn, visited Accra Ghana, to under study the Ghanaian model of post graduate medical residency training.
On 30th September 2013, the College was launched by Vice President, Ambassador Joseph Nyema Boakai with Dr. Roseda E. Marshall as the first President and Chairperson of the Post-graduate Medical Council, and Dr. Stephen B. Kennedy as Secretary General.
Postgraduate training in Internal Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics/ Gynecology and Pediatrics commenced in October of 2013 with a cohort of 19 first year residents, but was suspended between September 2014 and June 2015 as a result of the Ebola crisis, during which a faculty member in the Department of Internal Medicine died and a resident died. Training was restarted in July 2015. In September 2017, the College graduated its first cohort of 13 medical specialists who were inducted into Membership of the Liberia College of Physicians and Surgeons.