New radio show
Now the number of cholera cases has reduced and people aren’t scared anymore, it’s become even harder to get the message understood. The Red Cross has to find innovative ways to get people engaged in learning about cholera. We want people to understand how the disease spreads so they instinctively understand how to protect themselves all the time – and not just when people start dying.
One way we’re tackling this issue is through a new radio programme we’ve launched. It’s a weekly hour-long show on the national radio station SLBC, involving a panel discussion and members of the public calling in.
We dissect issues in detail, such as making sure water is safe to drink or why latrines stop the spread of cholera. And we’ve distributed wind-up, solar powered radios to make sure people can benefit from the show.
Earlier in the year, we set up a mobile cinema, which has now reached 30,000 people living in remote communities across the country with an animated movie and interactive format that gets people to identify the risks in their communities and make a plan to tackle them.
We’re also setting up an emergency SMS system with the country’s telecommunications companies, which will be able to warn of disease outbreaks and advise people on the closest sources of help should they fall ill. All of these innovative communication activities are working hand-in-hand with the traditional community health techniques like mothers’ clubs, peer educators in schools and house-to-house visits.
Controlling outbreaks of cholera
These combined approaches proved invaluable when cases started to rise and two people died in a densely populated mining community in Bo district in the centre of the country last week. Teams of community volunteers are going house to house, the mobile cinema is visiting the worst affected villages, two local radio shows are planned, and soap and water treatment tablets are being distributed. Thankfully for now, the outbreak is under control.