by Jamie Weber July 23, 2020Past LCIF Support Prepares Sierra Leone for COVID-19Across the world, droves of people are showing up to hospitals in need of care. The new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, is depleting medical resources, changing the way society lives, and is setting unprecedented standards. Hospitals are running out of ventilators, protective equipment, and even beds. They do not have enough staff to handle all of the patients who need help; many medical workers are being overworked. While this pandemic may be a new reality for some, unfortunately, Koidu Government Hospital in Sierra Leone has seen this before.From 2014 to 2016, Sierra Leone battled the Ebola virus. Being one of the countries hardest-hit, they lost nearly 4,000 lives, including seven percent of their healthcare workers. Closed schools, shutdown businesses, and overrun hospitals are scenes all too familiar for local citizens. When news of COVID-19 broke, hospital workers were shaken, remembering the horrors Ebola brought upon their country. However, this time, they feel prepared.The emergency ward at Koidu Government Hospital.In the wake of the Ebola outbreak, with designated donations primarily from the Lions of Europe, Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) donated US$244,068 to nonprofit organization, Partners in Health (PIH). With LCIF’s support, PIH was able to renovate the triage area at Koidu Government Hospital and build an emergency isolation building, essential for limiting contact and providing urgent medical care.Along with the renovations and added isolation support, LCIF’s support provided added infection control through an industrial incinerator and a laundry department, additions that allow dedicated staff to properly dispose of waste and wash linens.In addition to increasing the hospital’s physical capacity, LCIF’s support was able to provide professional development training for the hospital’s Environmental Health Team (EHT). The EHT is vital to the safety and functionality of the hospital, especially during infectious outbreaks. They organize safe patient triage, proper sanitation, and waste management.“A once shuttered facility and a mistrusted health system continues to transform into beacons of high-quality care where it once didn’t exist,” says Jourdan McGinn of PIH, Director of Policy & Partnerships in Sierra Leone. “LCIF played—and plays—a large role in this metamorphosis; the Foundation’s early investments in niche facility upgrades and staff support have helped produce a hospital patients feel comfortable turning to.” LCIF’s support created a sustainable infrastructure for years to come. Koidu Government Hospital was ready to respond and provide the proper treatment for COVID-19 patients in their hospital._________Lions are rising up like never before, passionate about protecting their communities and supporting their medical staff. With assistance from LCIF, Lions in every constitutional area are purchasing masks, gloves, protective gowns, medical supplies, and more and are delivering them to areas that are most-impacted by COVID-19.As of May 28, 2020, LCIF has awarded more than US$4.1 million through 237 grants. If you are able to make a donation for COVID-19 relief efforts, please give to LCIF by visiting lionsclubs.org/covid-19. For those who have already joined LCIF in support, thank you for your generosity; it is deeply appreciated. Because of you, Lions are there supporting and protecting their communities through this pandemic.