LANSING, Mich. — On Tuesday, the Michigan Senate was honored to host a visit by a delegation from the Health Ministry of Ghana. The delegation is seeking humanitarian and technological assistance from organizations throughout our state.
The Ebola virus has hit Ghana especially hard, and their luck took a turn for the worse in January. Unfortunately, that month the Ghanaian Central Medical Stores facility in Tema burned down and the fire destroyed virtually all of their medical supplies. This left doctors with only the small amounts of these supplies already spread throughout the hospitals and clinics to combat this deadly pandemic.
The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association (MAMA) has offered to help deliver millions of replacement medical supplies to these diffuse medical facilities (they are also seeking partners willing to donate medical supplies to the effort at this critical time). Since the affected areas are so remote and there is a risk of infection, MAMA has suggested that the best way to transport these vaccines, syringes, and other medical supplies is via unmanned Humanitarian Assistance Vehicles (HAV) built in Michigan.
“We are proud and honored to be helping our friends from the Republic of Ghana with the MAMA-HELP initiative for the prevention and control of Ebola as well as the emergency replenishment of medical supplies for the distribution center that was lost. Our continuing effort to bring the resources of Michigan to make our initiative a success are being led by leaders in the Michigan government such as Sen. Patrick Colbeck, Sen. Mike Kowall, Sen. Arlan Meekhof, and Sen. Wayne Schmidt.”
Using HAV’s to deliver medical supplies will not only give aid workers a safe and effective way to get help where it is needed most, but it could also revolutionize the way humanitarian efforts are conducted in the future. In addition to protecting American troops engaged in outreach and humanitarian efforts, it will also help to promote Michigan’s aerospace industry.
Senator Colbeck has been acting as the liaison between MAMA and various partner organizations in our state. He had the honor of introducing the following members of the delegation to his colleagues on the Senate Floor today:
- Dr. Afisah Zakariah (Director of Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and Chair of the Ebola Coordinating Secretariat at PPME-MOH)
- Mr. Festus Adams (Personal Assistant to Hon. Deputy Minister and Vice Coordinator of Ebola Coordinating Secretariat)
- Mr. Emmanuel Quaye (Liaison to West Africa for the Humanitarian Emergency Logistics Protocol program)
In addition to the Ghanaians, several visiting aerospace leaders including Gavin Brown and John Geisler of MAMA were also present at the event. These leaders included Rear Admiral (ret.) Scott Sanders (Chief Technology Officer, Ausley), Terrence Fogarty (Director of Business Development for K-MAX Helicopter Programs, Kaman), and Don Reed (Business Development Principal, Lockheed Martin).
“When I was beginning my career in Aerospace Engineering, I had to seek employment outside of Michigan” said Senator Colbeck. “Thanks to the efforts of organizations such as MAMA, we are growing the aerospace industry in Michigan so that our starry-eyed youth can fulfill their dreams without having to leave behind friends and family. Our state’s unique combination of engineering and medical expertise coupled with our proud manufacturing heritage as the home of Rosie the Riveter makes us the ideal partner for Ghana in their time of need.”
“It was an honor to have the guests of Sen. Colbeck from the Ghana delegation on the Senate floor this week,” said Senator Meekhof. “Their hard work and dedication to this cause should be held with the utmost respect. I look forward to their success here in Michigan.”