Via ReliefWeb, a UNICEF news release: Life-saving information helps reduce spread of Ebola across West Africa. Excerpt:
Together with Ministries of Health and other partners across seven countries in West Africa, UNICEF is using text messaging through mobile phones, radio shows, TV programmes and door-to-door campaigns to disseminate life-saving information in an effort to contain the often-fatal Ebola virus.
“Most of the people in this part of the world had never heard of Ebola before,” said Dr. Guido Borghese, UNICEF Principal Advisor Child Survival and Development for West and Central Africa. “In this environment, unfounded fears and rumours spread quickly and widely. More than ever, it is crucial that families have both the means and the right information to protect themselves and prevent dangerous misunderstandings.”
In collaboration with partners such as the Red Cross and the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF is stepping up efforts to design culturally-sensitive communication strategies and raise awareness of Ebola, at the grassroots level, across the seven at-risk or affected countries in West Africa.
In Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal, Mali and Guinea-Bissau, mass and digital media and inter-personal communication activities are being carried out to prevent people contracting the Ebola virus amongst communities and health workers in mosques, churches, schools, health centres and markets.
Additionally, UNICEF is providing critical prevention supplies, such as soap, chlorine, and gloves to the people in affected communities across West Africa.
West Africa is witnessing its first major outbreak of Ebola, which has no vaccine and no cure. The disease has already claimed 111 lives in Guinea and neighbouring Liberia as of 8 April 2014. In total, a growing number of 178 suspected, probable and confirmed cases has been reported in Guinea and Liberia, as well as six suspected cases in Mali.
"Radio dramas, print materials, TV shows, and even voice messages are automatically sent to mobile phones -- we use every appropriate means of communication to reach more people, spread the word in local languages and save lives,” adds Borghese. “We are running against time to avoid further spread in West Africa.”