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Liberia Ebola Outbreak Elevates IU Collaboration

University of Liberia President Emmet Dennis says graduates from their medical school went from 20 in 2008 to 84 in 2013 due in part to the grant.

The IU alum and former Rutgers president says the collaboration between IU and the University of Liberia comes at a critical time. President Emmet Dennis says in 2008, there were only 50 Liberian doctors in a country of 4 million people.

“We don’t have enough doctors, we don’t have enough equipment, we don’t have enough know-how, so a lot of investment went into health and into training of doctors and on the verge of that, we’re not there yet. You have something like Ebola; it took us out of surprise,” he says.

More than 1,300 people have contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia and surrounding areas and more than half of them have died.

A $2.6 million dollar grant from the Higher Education for Development and others is being used to establish a Center for Excellence in Health and Life Sciences at the University of Liberia.

Dennis says the grant is ‘tremendous’ and will allow the IU School of Nursing to develop a curriculum for their first major public bachelor’s program in nursing this fall.

The School of Public Health at IU Bloomington and Department of Biology will also help develop Liberia’s health and life science programs.

IU Health and the IU School of Medicine are soliciting cash donations and assembling personal protection equipment for health care workers at IU’s partner institutions. Those interested may learn more here.

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