FODAC Works with Fellow Non-Profit to Assist Ebola Patients in Liberia
Stone Mountain Organization Partners with West Africa Crossroads Corporation to Ship Badly Needed Equipment to Hospital and Birthing Center
Stone Mountain GA – (13 October 2014) – Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC), a non-profit organization providing over $10 million annually in durable medical equipment (DME) and supplies to the disabled community, has partnered with local non-profit West Africa Crossroads Corporation (WACC) to collect and ship badly-needed medical equipment to Liberia. The equipment was originally intended to support a birthing center in Buchanan and a hospital in Monrovia, but the shipment date was accelerated in order to address the recent Ebola outbreak in the country.
The project originated when WACC president (and FODAC board member) Steve Skinner found that FODAC had a large inventory of older-generation home medical equipment that was technologically outdated. Usually, recycling or parts inventory are the only options for this equipment, which is often still usable but not wanted by clients who can choose newer, more current equipment.
“In the United States, we always have options to choose newer equipment, but that’s not the case in many remote regions of the world,” stated Skinner. “In a country like Liberia, with a severely diminished infrastructure, there is often no running water, no sewage system, no electric power and very few paved roads. Hospitals and medical centers are operating with a severe lack of necessary equipment like hospital beds, wheelchairs, crutches and walkers. When I found out that FODAC had a large amount of older usable equipment that they would be willing to donate to our projects in Liberia, I quickly jumped on the opportunity and started making calls.”
WACC had already been working on a program to equip two medical centers in Liberia: BESTWA (Dennis Birthing Clinic in Buchanan) and a new hospital in Monrovia built with funds from Vaye Saye, an Atlanta taxi driver and a private citizen of Liberia. Saye has invested tens of thousands of dollars of his own money in the new hospital and supervised construction. Saye agreed to assist with the shipment of equipment to Liberia, helping with customs and providing transportation from the Liberian docks to the warehouses.
When Ebola broke out in Liberia, the shipping schedule was accelerated due to the increased need for hospital equipment, and part of the shipment was designated for centers treating the Ebola outbreak.
FODAC donated hospital beds, hospital mattresses, wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, oxygen concentrators, various bedside commodes and shower chairs – enough equipment to fill a 40-foot cargo container. WACC coordinated loading the equipment and transporting it to various collection centers in Atlanta and Stone Mountain. The equipment was then consolidated and transported to Savannah, where it shipped out to Liberia on 25 September. Due to the ongoing Ebola outbreak, the shipment will be required to go through additional checkpoints and inspection points, but should still reach Liberia by the end of October.
Once in Liberia, the equipment will be transported to Saye’s warehouse in Monrovia, where the shipment will be divided up, then distributed to the new hospital there, as well as the birthing center in Buchanan, and various Ebola treatment centers.
Skinner is quick to point out that this project was driven in large part by the Liberians, and is not a short-term donation.
“This is not a ‘one time shot,’” he remarked. “Although there is a ‘charity’ component to this effort, the majority of the work has been done by Liberian nationals and funded out of their own pockets. Vaye and his wife are not rich people, but like many Liberians living here, they do what they can to alleviate the suffering back home. The hospital and birthing center will be staffed by Liberians and will save lives for many years.”
“We are pleased to have been able to give this older equipment a second life,” said Chris Brand, president and CEO of FODAC. “So often, all we can do with old-generation equipment, like hospital beds with hand-cranks, is assign it to recycling. Now it will go on to serve those in need for a few more years.”
This will be the fourth shipment of medical equipment FODAC has helped WACC coordinate to Liberia since 2009; the largest previous shipment was in 2011, when a forty-foot container of medical equipment was delivered to a Doctors Without Borders facility in the town of Saclepea. WACC and Saye are also donating transportation, warehousing, security and logistical support for BESTWA’s emergency air shipment of medical supplies to be distributed to 28 different Ebola treatment centers across the country.
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Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC) helps people with injuries and disabilities of all ages regain their mobility, independence and quality of life. The non-profit organization provides more than $10 million annually in refurbished home medical equipment (HME) and home modifications in Georgia and across the United States, all at little or no cost to the recipients. A pioneer in re-use, FODAC keeps 200 tons of materials out of landfills each year by refurbishing and reissuing over 400 HME items every month, and is recognized nationally for best practices. For more information, visit www.fodac.org.
About West Africa Crossroads Corporation
West Africa Crossroads Corporation is a Georgia non-profit organization created to strengthen the economic, educational, physical and spiritual welfare of the people of West Africa. Over the past few years, WACC has shipped much-needed medical supplies to support hospitals and clinics in Liberia; worked with Rotary International to dig wells and construct sanitary outhouses; and continues to operate two computer learning centers. For more information, visit www.westafricacrossroads.com.
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