Two American Institutions in Cameroon Create Partnership on Health Programs

Government Recognition Sought for Nation’s First Physician Assistant Program
By: Saint Monica University
June 25, 2014 - PRLog -- Two American educational institutions in Cameroon – Saint Monica University (SMU): The America International University and Open Door Medical Development’s Physician Assistant Training School – today announced that they have reached a strategic agreement that will enable them offer better health training programs. Thanks to this agreement, the Physician Assistant Training School currently run by Open Door Medical Development will become a recognized institution of SMU. Additionally, SMU will also make use of Open Door’s license to train State Registered Nurses in Cameroon.

“Cameroon has very severe medical needs and this partnership will enhance our ability to train more health practitioners who can help in alleviating this situation,” said Dr. John Hibbert, Executive Director of Open Door Medical Development. “This partnership is in line with our mission, which is to network with other organizations and combine resources to provide quality medical care and to train indigenous technicians for medical/dental outreach. Our Physician Assistant program is an excellent program designed in line with the renowned Physician Assistant Program at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in the United States of America. Our graduates have been doing tremendous work, often in very difficult and remote areas where medical doctors are reluctant to work. We earnestly pray that government recognizes the program now that we operate under the auspices of an approved university.”

Open Door Medical Development was founded by an American couple – Dr. John Hibbert, MD, a board certified general surgeon with a Masters in Public Health and a Diploma in Tropical Medicine; and his wife, Omelda Hibbert, BSN, a Registered Nurse. Open Door has been operating the Physician Assistant Training School (PATS) in Cameroon for close to a decade, which is the first and only Physician Assistant (PA) program in the country. For years, they sought approval of the program from the Ministries of Public Health and Higher Education without success. Under the new partnership, SMU has applied first for the recognition of the PA program in Cameroon and then for license to operate it from the Ministry of Higher Education.

“The synergy created by this partnership between Open Door Medical Development and Saint Monica University will benefit the nation as a whole,” said Prof. Januarius J. Asongu, President and Chief Executive Officer of SMU. “The two institutions have many things in common – we both have American roots, operate as non-profit institutions, inspired by the Christian message, and interested in training health practitioners. We’re all men with a vision and mission to bring change in people’s lives through education. Thanks to this partnership, SMU will now offer both the Physician Assistant as well as the State Registered Nurse programs.”

The Physician Assistant Institute (PAI) at SMU will still be run by Open Door at its current location outside Mbengwi, Northwest Region of Cameroon, with Dr. Hibbert serving as its Provost. Dr. and Mrs. Hibbert will also serve on the Board of Regents of SMU. Meanwhile, the State Registered Nursing program will operate at the SMU main campus in Buea.

About Open Door Medical Development

Open Door Medical Development is an apolitical, nongovernmental philanthropic association. Open Door is founded by Dr. John Hibbert and his wife, Omelda Hibbert. They have been ministering in developing world since 1988 and have taken medicine, food and vitamins to Kenya, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Haiti, and Jamaica. It operates a free clinic and free physician assistants school in Mbengwi, Cameroon. Its ministry philosophy is based on the premise that a holistic approach is the only way to successfully demonstrate Christ's love in the world today. Open Door gives medical training to young Cameroonians for a period of three years. They use these skills to impact the healthcare needs of the people in remote villages, and at the same become gainfully employed – making a living for themselves while sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For more information, write to Open Door Medical Development, PO Box 832, Mbengwi, NW, Cameroon or PO Box 512275, Punta Gorda, FL 33951, USA, or Email:

About Saint Monica University: The American International University

Saint Monica University (SMU) is an American-style private Christian institution, offering programs that are at the intersection of the liberal arts, science and technology. It is dedicated to providing educational opportunities for the intellectual, social, entrepreneurial and professional development of a diverse student population. SMU is focused on the student experience and helping our students achieve their educational and career goals, and contributing to a more sustainable society.  We offer various bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees through the School of Arts & Education (SAE), School of Business & Public Policy (SBPP), School of Health & Human Services (SHHS), and School of Science, Engineering & Technology (SSET). SMU is accredited in the United Kingdom by the Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges, and University (ASIC) with Accreditation No: AS22357/0614. SMU is also fully accredited in Cameroon by the National Commission on Private Higher Education at the Ministry of Higher Education with the Ordinance of Creation No: E14/0028/MINESUP/SG/DDES and the Ministerial Letter No: 14/01319/L/MINESUP/SG/DDES/ESUP/SDA/OAGS authorizing its operation. For more information about SMU, visit our website: or write to us at

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