Doctors train to serve Liberia

Dag Sei Tokpa (center) medical student at Jinzhou Medical University, reviews x-rays. ~photo courtesy of Dag Sei Tokpa.

Ganta Hospital in Liberia will soon welcome three Crusade Scholars to their medical staff.

Prince Patrick Myers, Catherine Griggs, and Dag Tokpa are three United Methodist World Communion Scholars who are studying for medical degrees with the expectation of returning to work at the church-related Ganta Hospital in Liberia.

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Prince Patrick Myers, medical student at University of The Gambia, in front of Grace Chapel. ~photo courtesy of Prince Patrick Myers.

World Communion Scholarships are funded by offerings given by local churches on World Communion Sunday, celebrated the first Sunday of October.  These stipends (formerly called Crusade Scholarships) were established in 1944 to promote world peace and understanding. The hope was that students, having completed their study/training program, would return to their home countries to serve their churches and communities.

Up until the present time, the program has supported approximately 4,200 students worldwide. Graduates have included doctors, ambassadors, rural developers, teachers, psychologists, theologians, head of churches, to name a few, and are women and men from among Global Ministries’ partners worldwide.

Financial support for Myers’ medical education is a joint collaboration between Global Ministries’ World Communion Scholarship program and Asbury United Methodist Church in Madison, Wisc.   Leading the efforts of Asbury UMC is Dr. Mark Schroeder, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Myers, a native of Ganta, Liberia, is committed to give back and serve at Ganta Hospital upon completion of medical school and accompanying training.

World Communion Sunday was October 2. However, the offering may be taken and remitted to the Conference Treasurer on a day convenient on your congregation’s calendar.

Griggs, originally from Grand Bassa County in Liberia, is also a medical student at University of The Gambia.  She is due to complete her studies from the University’s School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences in February 2017. Griggs will return to Liberia to serve at Ganta Hospital, a commitment she made with the Liberia UMC before embarking on her study program in 2009. Griggs is daughter of two UMC pastors.  Lauded by her application recommenders as an excellent student of science, Griggs has always had a fervent dream to become a medical doctor.

Tokpa, also originally from Ganta, Liberia, is nearing the end of his medical studies at Jinzhou Medical University in Jinzhou, China, after which he will be returning to serve at Ganta Hospital.  Both of Tokpa’s parents have been nurses at Ganta Hospital. Tokpa excelled at Ganta UM Senior High School, going on to complete a BS in Biology at Cuttington University.  He returned to Ganta UM School as a senior chemistry teacher.  In his original scholarship application essay, Tokpa expressed intense interest in the field of medicine, wanting to train as a general practitioner and to work on the prevention of disease from a public health perspective.

Joining this unprecedented connectional support for these three determined young medical students is the Global Ministries’ office of Global Health under the leadership of Dr. Olusimbo Ige.  The Global Health unit’s collaboration will assist the students in their placements at Ganta, underscoring the need to find good quality staff at 17 UMC hospitals in Africa.  The focus on Ganta Hospital is to assist in government accreditation as there is a required number of staff doctors for this process.  This will also greatly alleviate the enormous stresses placed on the current staff.

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