The Koror branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated 124 wheelchairs to Palau last July 12, with the donations coursed through the Belau National Hospital.
Darnelle Worswick, the hospital administrator, received the donation in a ceremony that was also attended by the church’s Koror branch president, EJ Ozu, and Palau’s Minister of Health Gaafar Uherbelau.
Among the recipients of the first wheelchair was Ernest Simer, whose wife, Wilma B. Ernest, was on hand to receive the donated wheelchair on his behalf.
Ozu said their church is full of gratitude “that we can help the people of Palau and to provide a service for them. …There are a lot of needs, and we are truly grateful for the opportunity to serve.”
William H.K. Davis, the church’s area authority and humanitarian director, said the donation was made possible by the generous donations of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including its members in Palau. “We are so happy to be right here in Palau and to provide this service, especially to some of our most vulnerable people in the community,” he added.
In accepting the donation, Uherbelau said: “On behalf of the ministry and all of the staff as well as the departments that will receive these wheelchairs, we really want to thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and, of course, the people of Palau. It is a very challenging and difficult time, so to be receiving this donation has a very impactful effect on the community….”
The Belau Hospital is the only national hospital in Palau and serves all citizens on the island (18,092 people) by providing primary healthcare, emergency care, surgery, inpatient, pediatric, and outpatient services.
The donation came about after the church’s humanitarian specialists met with Worswick in August 2021, to inquire what the hospitals needs were. A proposal was submitted to donate a 20-foot container of 124 wheelchairs to the hospital. Each chair is embroidered with the logo “Donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” on the back.
To accommodate the weather and conditions in Palau, each wheelchair was ordered with composite spokes that will not rust, tubeless tires that will not go flat, and a seat cushion for comfort.
The wheelchairs will support inpatients and outpatients in the hospital, clinics in the area, and will be provided to needy patients in the community because of disabilities caused by non-communicable diseases such as diabetes. After much time and effort, the wheelchairs have arrived and are now ready to be distributed to those in need by the hospital.
Dr. Sylvia Osarch, a geriatrician with Belau National Hospital who has worked there for over 20 years, said the wheelchairs and any kind of donations “are very important. The wheelchair is important because there are homebound who have no way of coming into the hospital so the wheelchairs will benefit us greatly, as well as those who can still do things on their own around the house who we can give a wheelchair to. I look to benefit the quality of life for the elderly, so, thank you for the wheelchairs.” (PR)