The Rotary Club of Monrovia (RCM) over the weekend broke ground for the construction of a facility to house a medical grade Oxygen production plant for ELWA Hospital.
A release says the selection of that health facility as the recipient of the project comes as no surprise because ELWA Hospital is one of the traditional and premier healthcare providers in the country.
The $200,000 Oxygen plant project comes after nearly four years of fund-raising and project development by the RCM, Rotary Club of Marlow and other Rotary Districts in the United Kingdom.
Speaking at the ceremony, RCM president Monique Cooper-Liverpool said her organization is pleased to collaborate with ELWA Hospital on this life – saving project.
She describes the project as the beginning of a new phase of work that has been ongoing for four years now, adding that the Oxygen plant is one of two “Ebola Legacy projects” that are being implemented by the RCM.
Mrs. Cooper-Liverpool discloses that the dream that led to conceiving the project started during the outbreak of the horrendous Ebola virus disease.
“Our club stood in the face of the virus and we decided to use our network of clubs to harness that support and goodwill that we needed that helped to bring relief to our people. We were able to put together over US$100,000 of support at the time, coordinating efforts with the Ministry of Health and other partners across the country,” she adds.
Once completed, the oxygen plant will be capable of filling cylinders, and supplying oxygen for the Operating Theaters, Emergency Room and treatment areas of the new ELWA hospital. The excess bottled Oxygen not used by the hospital would be made available to other medical facilities in the Monrovia area, at minimal cost.
“Today is the culmination of years of hard work from our members, Rotary partners in the UK and the beneficiary ELWA. We are truly excited to get the project started and are looking to all the lives we can save by simply having high quality medical Oxygen available for patients when they need it. This is such a joy and we are glad to be making a difference,” she continues.
It is expected that over the next six months the building will be completed, equipment purchased, installed and staff trained for effective operations of the plant, she notes.
RCM was one of the early responders during the Ebola outbreak here. Rotarians were on the front line providing critical support to the Ministry of Health with initial donations of gloves, supplies of mattresses, liquids and food to quarantined patients and households, protective equipment to health workers, buckets and chlorine and awareness materials and sanitation trainings to communities.
ELWA was also an Ebola first responder and champion. When Ebola first arrived in Liberia in 2014, ELWA converted their chapel into an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU). ELWA expanded its ETU and created ELWA-2 where nearly 750 patients were treated.
In the aftermath of the crisis, RCM turned its attention to legacy projects which would help rebuild the health sector from the devastating effects of the outbreak. During the Ebola epidemic, avoidable deaths occurred as medical Oxygen was scarce at many major hospitals and health facilities.
The hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. John Fankhauser, expresses gratitude that the project is now coming to fruition. He says medical grade oxygen has been a big issue at the facility since his arrival here four years ago.
He lauds the Rotary club for the vision and notes that it will be of great help to the Liberian populace.
Rotary is an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide. –Press release