Once again a private group proves that volunteer cooperation is superior to extortion. In this case Firestone (the tire manufacturer) is doing what governments can’t do by extortion and the credible threat of violence. Firestone has stopped ebola in it’s tracks.
"Dr. Brendan Flannery, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's team in Liberia, has hailed Firestone's efforts as resourceful, innovative and effective.
Currently the only Ebola cases on the sprawling, 185-square-mile plantation are in patients who come from neighboring towns.
Long rows of dappled rubber trees cover Harbel's landscape. Prevailing winds cause the adult trees to lean westward. Back when Firestone was still based in Ohio, employees used to joke that the trees are 'bowing to Akron.'
When the Ebola case was diagnosed, 'we went in to crisis mode,' recalls Ed Garcia, the managing director of Firestone Liberia. He redirected his entire management structure toward Ebola. Levi Zeopueger, 40, was treated at Firestone's Ebola clinic and survived. But he lost 11 other members of his family to the virus. i
Levi Zeopueger, 40, was treated at Firestone's Ebola clinic and survived. But he lost 11 other members of his family to the virus. John W. Poole/NPR
Garcia's team first tried to find a hospital in the capital to care for the woman. 'Unfortunately, at that time, there was no facility that could accommodate her,' he says. 'So we quickly realized that we had to handle the situation ourselves.'
The case was detected on a Sunday. Garcia and a medical team from the company hospital spent Monday setting up an Ebola ward. Tuesday the woman was placed in isolation.
'None of us had any Ebola experience,' he says. They scoured the Internet for information about how to treat Ebola. They cleared out a building on the hospital grounds and set up an isolation ward. They grabbed a bunch of hazmat suits for dealing with chemical spills at the rubber factory and gave them to the hospital staff. The suits worked just as well for Ebola cases."