- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Wichita-based company that converts shipping containers into medical clinics is trying to raise $300,000 to send eight clinics, food and supplies to western Africa to fight the Ebola outbreak.

Clinic in a Can, founded by physician assistant Mike Wawrzewski, said his organization wants to create a Wichita response that will get locals involved in the battle against the deadly disease. Sending much-needed clinics to Liberia is a step in that direction, he said.

“Now they have something they can do because it’s better to fight it and treat it over there,” Wawrzewski told The Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/ZF8YGm ). “The longer it goes on, the potential of us having to treat it at our back door goes up.”

Some 9,000 people have been infected with Ebola, and more than 4,500 have died, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization.

Clinic in a Can, which built its first clinic in 2005, has sent clinics to Haiti after its 2010 earthquake, the Philippines after 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan, and Moore, Oklahoma, after last year’s massive tornado.

All surfaces in the clinics can be decontaminated, Wawrzewski said, which is a step up from many of the Ebola treatment centers in Liberia - some which are made up of 6-foot posts wrapped with plastic.

“Their medical system is overwhelmed and it’s the consequences of poor infrastructure and poor sanitation,” he said.

The eight clinics are being constructed now and will be ready to ship in about three weeks if funding is in place, Wawrzewski said. They are operational for up to 20 years, and this is the first time the organization has made them completely solar powered.

“That’s very important in Liberia because their power system is horrible,” he said.

The containers will also be packed with equipment, including personal protective equipment for medical personnel who are treating Ebola patients, he said.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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