Awards, Achievements and Presentations / International award received by Peter Jones plus report

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BO CHILDRENS HOSPITAL – 2008-2015 – SIERRA LEONE 

First of all this report endeavours to set out the history of the project  as it was seen by the members of Eastcliff Rotary and how the project progressed forwards.

The project was steered through the club by Rotarian and Club Past President Prof Peter Jones and he was helped by many members giving time and helping to raise awareness of the needs of the people of BO and the importance of the project to that community and those around that area who would ultimately benefit.

In May  2008  our club received a visit from two Australian Rotarians. They were en route from Australia via London by Air to Freetown, Sierra Leone. At the time this was the only route available for them. They had contacted past club president Peter Jones asking if he could organise some free accommodation for them to stop over en route and whilst in the UK there were some tasks they wished to do. Peter readily agreed. They contacted him because a few years earlier he and his wife had moved on a temporary assignment to Australia where he was involved in a University secondment from Bournemouth University. Whilst in Australia he not only joined his local Rotary Club in the Blue Mountains but had served a year as club president.

This was Rotarian Mark Thompson from the same club that Peter was a member and Rotarian Dr Nulli Lumoh from a nearby club. Nulli was born in Sierra Leone and had come to the UK as a very young man and qualified as a paediatric Doctor. He worked here for some years and married an english girl before they emigrated to Australia and he continued to practice in his profession.

His place of birth in Sierra Leone was a very small town called Bo.  It was always his dream to be able to build a childrens hospital in Bo because there was absolutely no such facilities available at all in this area.  Sierra Leone had been wracked by internal conflict and wars for some years but it seemed that now this was ended and Dr Nulli Lemoh felt the time was ripe to carry out his dream project. He had fired up interest in his local Rotary Club and in others in his District and they were ready to spearhead the fund raising and the building project in partnership with the Bo Rotary Club. In fact they were en route to start negotiations to acquire the land.

They came to one of our normal club meetings and impressed the members with their enthusiasm and explained how support from a UK club would help multiply grants obtained from Rotary Foundation.  Over the next few months members discussed the project and a decision was made to give full support but we explained that our fundraising may not be as generous as that planned by the Australian Clubs.

We started publicising the project and fundraising to help with the initial funds needed.

The foundations for the club were laid in February 2010  and both Rotarians Peter Jones and Chris Potter from Eastcliff travelled to Bo to see the area and check out that the project would be self sustaining once completed and reported back to the club with full details.

We raised funds from our own club sources and members, especially President at the time, Graham Rogers, who not only led various fund raising initiatives but he addressed a District Conference explaining in detail about the project and we thus gained interest and contributions from other local Rotary Clubs.  We also had a fund raising page on our website to accrue contributions from interested non rotarians.

A charity became interested and donated a substantial sum. The Australians managed the project but our help and support was acknowledged and gratefully received.

The hospital became fully operational in May 2012 and there was an official opening by his Excellency the President of Sierra Leone.

In order to help the fledgling hospital we paid the salary costs for one nurse for a full year which again was appreciated.

Rotarian Chris Potter visited for a second time when the hospital became operational and came back with details of more work needed in providing management training to the Hospital Workforce  and the club arranged for Graham Rogers and Chris to return to assist with this part of the project and more funds were raised to actually finance the training. However all travel to and from the country and within the country itself was put on hold due to the very severe Ebola outbreak.

With District agreement the funds we had amassed for this training project together with some more funds gathered from local Rotary Clubs and ourselves to help with handling the Ebola outbreak work were sent out to Bo, this helped to build an isolation unit to be used for the Ebola issue, this extra building was to be used as a Triage unit when the current emergency was completed.

In 2012 Peter published an online book through ibooks called ‘Children of Bo’ – a photographic essay.  This had over 650 downloads and donations were sought to go to the hospital funds by those who used the download.

There was always the requirement for medical supplies and Peter made contact with Inter Care,(A UK based charity) which specialised in sourcing near out of date medicines and medical supplies to be sent to third world countries without their own funds to source themselves.  This partnership was successful and at the time of writing this report it still continues.

In 2017 we reviewed our involvement in projects past and present and we decided to close our involvement with the establishment of this Childrens Hospital and concentrate on our involvement with rebuilding a school in Nepal. Unless we get a plea from Bo we consider this a job well done and completed by Rotary International.

Eastcliff Members were extremely grateful for the support given by District and through other local Rotary Clubs – once a project like this is seen to be successful but needing some additional help it is surprising how Rotarians are willing to assist.   PP Graham Rogers and PP Chris Potter played leading roles within Eastcliff Rotary but throughout the liaison was maintained through the contacts made via PP Peter Jones.

In 2018 Rotary announced the establishment of a new award available for Districts to give for outstanding achievements in International projects and we decided  to put forward a recommendation  for an International Achievement Award for our member, Prof Peter Jones in respect of this project in Bo. This was agreed in June by District 1110 District Governor and the International Committee Chairman.  The presentation of the framed certificate was made to Peter at our Annual President’s Night in the presence of most of the members of the club, their spouses and guests.