Ebola 'robot' to help fight virus in Sierra Leone

SKOKIE, Ill. (WLS) -- Members of a Skokie church are fighting against Ebola in one of the places hardest hit. They are hoping that some critical supplies and a "robot" could help turn the tide in West African Sierra Leone.

At Palos Community Hospital in southwest suburban Palos Heights, a robot named "Tru-D" uses sensors to detect harmful bacteria, virus and spores and then kills them with ultraviolet light. A staff member controls it from outside of the room using an iPad. The hospital dispatches it in operating rooms and isolation rooms after patients have battled tough infections like MRSA.

These women believe the $85,000 device could help stop the spread of Ebola in their home country of Sierra Leone, where hospitals are needed most but are being forced to shut down.

"Some of the clinics especially the privately owned clinics, if you have one Ebola patient you basically have to get rid of 90 percent of your stuff," said Femi Davies.

And the threat is causing non-Ebola patients to lose access to care.

"Everyone is afraid, so now what is happening is you present with malaria for example or a lady might have had a miscarriage for example so she's bleeding. She needs help," said Dr. Tonya Schreder. "Those people get turned away. They go home and they die at home."

This group is also trying to send help. The Chicago Consulate of Sierra Leone and a local doctor have secured nearly a half-million dollars in donated medical supplies, mostly to treat secondary illnesses.

"These are antibiotics of different categories that take care of secondary infections. We also have antiemetics that stop vomiting," Dr. Sam Kormoi said.

They are now raising funds to ship the supplies, a cost that could run as high as ten thousand dollars.

"If we collectively do not do something to stem the Ebola wild disease, then unimaginable consequences can occur," said Dr. Ankur Purohit, consulate of Sierra Leone.

Both groups are connected to the central United Methodist Church in Skokie. There is a fundraiser set for Saturday, November 1.

"A Taste of Sierra Leone - African Feast," an Ebola relief fundraiser will be held on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at Central United Methodist Church, 8237 N. Kenton Ave., Skokie, IL 60076.

Drop in anytime between 5-9 p.m.

For more information: http://www.umcnic.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Ebola-Flyer-copy-2.pdf

Make checks payable to: Central United Methodist Church

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