Home' Rotary Down Under : March2015(International) Contents EBOLA
| 32 | ISSUE 570 MARCH 2015
her Rotary club to educate people in
Sinkor, a residential neighbourhood of
Monrovia, about Ebola.
“It becomes very personal at times,
but we cannot give up,” she said.
West of Sinkor, in an office near
the waterfront in Monrovia’s Mamba
Point neighbourhood, Victoria
Cooper-Enchia and David Frankfort
discuss the Ebola relief work of the
Rotary Club of Monrovia.
Cooper-Enchia is club president,
while Frankfort is the Ebola committee
chair. Paper-clipped to each of their
shirts is a piece of paper with a number
on it – their temperature, taken before
entering the building as a precautionary
measure. This is part of efforts to
combat the outbreak of the virus,
which is often accompanied by fever
symptoms. Such tags are standard at
many hotels, banks, supermarkets and
other public facilities.
Their club, in partnership with the
Rotary Club of Marlow, England,
is helping to provide non-contact
thermometers to local establishments.
Ebola is spread through direct contact
with blood or bodily fluids such as
saliva, sweat, urine or vomit.
When the pair arrived, they also
had to wash their hands in buckets
filled with chlorinated water, another
necessity the club is distributing.
Many buildings also have chlorinated
sponges for people to step on so they
don’t track germs on the bottoms of
their shoes. A curfew is in place, the
first since Liberia’s civil war ended, to
minimise public gatherings.
“This is what we’re living with every
day,” Cooper-Enchia says. “We’re
not sure how it will affect us when
Cooper-Enchia launched the club’s
Ebola relief efforts the day she was
inducted as president. It is Rotary’s 50th
year in Liberia and Rotarians here are
accustomed to serving in challenging
situations, most notably following
the country’s brutal civil war, which
killed 250,000 people between 1990
It was initially thought the virus had
been contained in Liberia, but when
new cases began to reappear in July
last year she appealed to club members
who pitched in $US1000, which was
donated to the Ministry of Health for
the purchase of 10,000 pairs of gloves.
By the end of the month, Ebola cases
in the country had started to snowball.
The club doubled its efforts and by
October it had donated 100 plastic
buckets with spouts for hand-washing,
120 pairs of rubber boots for health
workers, 80 mattresses, fuel coupons
for Ebola response vehicles and books
for children so they could study at
home while schools remained closed.
When the club realised the hospital
had no photocopier for patient records,
it donated one, and when a Rotarian
saw patients’ family members standing
in the rain waiting for word about their
loved ones, the club brought tarps and
rope to create a shelter. It also provided
assistance to a group of families who
were quarantined and in need of food
after learning of their plight.
“Our value is that we can fill
those holes,” Cooper-Enchia says.
“Big donors are bringing doctors
and building centres. We’re
responding locally. ”
Hundreds of Rotary clubs worldwide
have assisted the Monrovia Rotarians
in their dedicated efforts, which they
publicised on Rotary Ideas, Rotary’s new
crowdfunding platform at ideas.rotary.
org. The Rotary Board of Directors and
Foundation Trustees discussed the crisis
at their October meetings and further
updates will be made available online.
Rotary first laid the groundwork for
responding to an epidemic such as
Ebola through PolioPlus.
Emergency operations centres now
serve as the central command for polio
eradication activities in northern Nigeria,
providing locations for the government,
Rotary and its partner agencies in the
Global Polio Eradication Initiative
to pool resources and coordinate
activities to prevent and respond to
Staff members include 100 Nigerian
doctors trained in epidemiology to assist
in the polio eradication campaign. After
a Liberian-American lawyer collapsed in
an airport in Lagos, bringing the Ebola
each of their shirts
is a piece of paper
with a number
on it – their
the building as
CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT:
Schools have been closed
because of the outbreak
– Rotarians have helped
packets so children
can study at home;
Rotarians explained to
what Rotary does; The
Rotary Club of Monrovia,
supplies in collaboration
with African health
professionals living in
the United States;
Buckets containing a
chlorine solution stand
at the entrance to most
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