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Rotary Covid-19 ambulance ignites hope amid pandemic

Year 2020 was when we paused momentarily as COVID-19 sent shockwaves to almost all corners of the world. Countries shutdown their borders and ‘lockdowns’ and ‘quarantine’ became bywords.

While some stood still to wait it out, the Rotary Club of Zamboanga City (RCZC) knew they cannot afford to pause longer than necessary, and went full speed to address what is needed in their community.

Less than a year later, RCZC turned over a fully-equipped COVID-19 ambulance, the first ever of its kind in the Zamboanga Peninsula. More than the usefulness it will provide as an emergency vehicle, the ambulance served as a symbol of hope to the people in Region IX that were desolate since the pandemic was declared.

RCZC is known in the region as one of the oldest non-profit organizations that supports and advocates socio-cultural and health projects and other humanitarian service that seeks to improve the lives of the Zamboangueños.

They’ve proven it again by their quick-response to the pandemic through the state-of-the-art ambulance that was specifically designed and retro-fitted with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and other life-saving equipment to safely transport COVID-19 patients.

The ambulance that approximately cost $48,000 or about P2.4 million, was a joint project with the Rotary Club of Daegu-Seongseo, District 3700 in South Korea as the international club partner. Other international partners were the Rotary Clubs of Jinju-Chokseok (D3590), Gangneung-Yulgok (D3730), Gangneung-Baekhap (D3730), Gwangju-East (D3710) and the Helping Hands Foundation of RCZC. This was also made possible in part, by a grant from The Rotary Foundation.

RCZC President Honoriza Krystle Monjardin-Lavista said it is their hope that this project will strengthen the infectious disease management system in the region and improve the ability of medical frontliners to respond efficiently to emergencies.

“We do what we can and I am grateful to our members for fully supporting this project, as well as to our other local and international partners who made this possible,” she said.

RCZC members came in droves and with the new ambulance, conducted a motorcade around the city to rekindle hope in the community, before turning the unit over to the Zamboanga City Medical Center which serves as the COVID-19 referral center in the region.

Hospital chief, Dr. Afdal Kunting who is also a Rotarian, signed the Memorandum of Agreement in behalf of the health facility while President Krystle signed for the club. Fr. Louis Catalan, SJ, also attended and blessed the Covid-19 ambulance.

RCZC continues to be at the forefront in responding to the health needs in their region.

Thank you to all our generous sponsors who helped us make this project possible.

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