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Date: 2017-01-09
Title: Global Division Supports Second Psychiatrist in Liberia

As of September, Liberia has its second psychiatrist working in country. With support from a philanthropic donor, Boston Medical Center and the MGH Division of Global Psychiatry have been able to fund the salary of the country’s second psychiatrist, Dr. Babawale “Wale” Ojediran. In the past few months, Dr. Wale, a Nigerian native, has become deeply involved in clinical services, scientific research, and teaching initiatives at the University of Liberia. Under the leadership of Dr. Benjamin Harris, Dr. Wale has begun to propose and implement innovative approaches as an attempt to increase operative efficiency within the institution.

Upon arrival, Dr. Wale identified that a considerable number of patients who were left at the hospital by loved ones for long periods continued to occupy hospital beds after treatment due to lack of transportation. Drs. Wale and Harris started an initiative to secure transportation from John F. Kennedy Medical Center, a neighboring hospital, to take patients who have completed treatment back to their homes to reunite with their family. This approach has not only helped to encourage relations to pick up their patients on time, it has also improved the turnover rate, as vacated beds can be filled with new admissions. Dr. Wale continues to implement this approach as part of daily operation at the hospital after the initial success. Despite the scarce resources available in Liberia, Dr. Wale is determined to make use of all that is available and seek out external support, including enquiries about acquiring EEG and ECT machines and establishing a collaborative relationship with JFK Medical Center to ensure a smoother referral process.

Dr. Wale is also an active contributor to ongoing research efforts in Liberia. He has begun to go out to neighboring communities and local churches and justice institutions to establish collaboration on potential future research projects.

Though the university has yet to welcome its first cohort of psychiatry residents, Dr. Wale has become involved in preparing syllabus and preparing lecture notes for year 4 and 5 medical students who will be rotating in January. Currently medical residents are doing a monthly stint at the psychiatric hospital under Drs. Harris' and Ojediran's supervision. Dr. Wale is deeply passionate about establishing the first psychiatry program in Liberia while recommending the expansion of the medical school curriculum to incorporate Psychology lectures into the preclinical syllabus. With his contribution, it is hopeful the residency training program will take off in two years.