Due to an unprecedented Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, the city’s public health infrastructure is exhausted. With that in mind, David Ives, executive director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute, teamed up with the Sierra Leone and New Haven Sister Cities Program to send a specially-designed ambulance to Sierra Leone to help combat Ebola.
Ives hopes to raise $100,000 by January in order to purchase the vehicle for use in Sierra Leone and says this is a great opportunity for anyone to donate and make a difference.
“It would be a perfect thing for fraternities or sororities or other people to send in any amount of money,” Ives said. “We could have an impact.”
Currently, safe transit to treatment centers for the hordes of infected patients is scarce and many have resorted to dangerous methods of transporting Ebola patients, according to David Ives.
“Often what happens is that somebody with a serious case of Ebola is transported on the back of a motorcycle when they’re in their most contagious stage,” Ives said. “So the guy on the back of the motorcycle dies and the driver gets sick and dies.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention website states that those who are in close proximity to Ebola patients, such as the motorcycle drivers that Ives mentioned, are at the highest risk for the rare and deadly disease.
“Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids,” as stated on the CDC website.
Barbara Segaloff, head of outreach for the Sierra Leone and New Haven Sister Cities program, says they teamed up with Bob Thomas Ford of Hamden.
“[People at Bob Thomas Ford] are exploring how to purchase cargo transit vans made in Europe and sold in Sierra Leone,” Segaloff said. “The vans will be up-fitted to be an ambulance. Buying overseas insures van meets emissions, registration to locals in Freetown, etc.”
This vehicle will have an airtight plexiglas barrier separating the driver’s compartment from that of the patient in the back to avoid transference of the patient’s bodily fluids, according to Ives.
Many students are already excited to donate.
“It’s a great idea and I’m more than willing to donate,” freshman Jason Leo said. “I think it is important that we help the people in Africa because we take so much for granted here, like safe transportation and healthcare.”
Freshman Chris Brachlow said he will definitely contribute.
“I think it is a good cause because we need to help people with Ebola, and the people trying to help the patients,” Brachlow said.
Sophomore Paige Cantwell stressed the importance of thinking about those outside our immediate community.
“I like that the Quinnipiac community is thinking about people globally. I will definitely donate,” Cantwell said. “I think that as students it is important to get involved in global issues even if it is a small way like donating a few dollars.”
Donations can be made by mail to
Citizens to Drive Out Ebola
United Way of Greater New Haven, Suite 403
New Haven, CT 06513
Make checks payable to “Citizens to Drive Out Ebola”
Or donate online at www.fundly.com/citizens-to-drive-out-ebola