Kamloops steps up to provide Liberia with first fully-equipped ambulance

By Chad Klassen
September 10, 2018 - 5:02pm Updated: September 10, 2018 - 5:42pm

KAMLOOPS — The Kamloops community is providing an ambulance for a country that has been without one for years. Local firefighter David Sakaki, who has been around the world on humanitarian missions, has stepped up again to organize the purchase of liberia's first fully-equipped ambulance.

The $14,000 ambulance, purchased thanks to a generous donation by Kamloops company Diamond Delivery, is being delivered to the African nation of liberia in the coming weeks, providing the country with a life-saving piece of equipment. 

"We have some ambulances there, but they are not as equipped as this ambulance and there's not been an organized system in Liberia," noted the Deputy Health Minister in Liberia Francis Ketah, who was in Kamloops on Monday for a short visit to see the bright yellow ambulance. "Working along with Dave, what we are trying to do is put a good EMS system in place in Liberia."

Liberia is a country in West Africa with 4.6 million people next door to Cote D'ivoire and Sierra Leone. For years, it didn't have an ambulance, only using vans to transport people.

The country also has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world with 994 deaths per 100,000 births. Some mothers are forced to deliver their babies on the side of the road with no access to an ambulance. The Kamloops-donated ambulance will change all that. 

"Every second saves a life," said Ketah. "So this ambulance is going to go way beyond what our anticipated result will be because we know it's going to save so many lives, and this is what is important about it."

The ambulance will be named 'Patrick,' named after a prominent engineer in Liberia who lost his life after being transported to the hospital on a motorcycle after an accident. 

Sakaki, who's been working on getting an ambulance forLiberia for two years now, will travel to the country once it's been delivered in the next month. 

"This is the intial project that we're doing in Liberia," said Sakaki. "Once the ambulance gets over there, we'll be going over with a small team to assess the needs and we're going to be ramping up the project to send more ambulances and fire trucks to the country."

For Kateh, who's been working with the Kamloops community to see this ambulance through, it's the latest of many great accomplishments in health care for his country that includes erradicating Ebola completely in Liberia a year after the outbreak in 2014. 

The ambulance will shipped out sometime next month and hit the road immediately to help the people of Liberia. 

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