LUANDA, 15 April – Tomorrow, 1,500 scouts mobilized by the Ministry of Health with the support of UNICEF, will go around Luanda informing its inhabitants of the Marburg hemorrhagic fever.
“We are still at a stage where providing well targeted information could change the course of the epidemic and avoid it from spreading,” said Mario Ferrari, UNICEF Representative in Luanda. “The population has to be aware of the dangers and know what to do if they come across a suspected case. Equally important is that people develop an attitude of collaboration with the medical and surveillance teams.”
A total of 23 groups composed of 40 to over 100 scouts will circulate around the city centre of Luanda, Cacuaco and Viana as of 8:30 tomorrow morning. They will stand at strategic points such as traffic lights and important cross roads distributing brochures containing critical information on what the epidemic is, how it spreads and what can be done to avoid becoming infected.
The youngsters will also pay door to door visits in different neighbourhoods and, in the afternoon, they will cover the most popular beaches to ensure they reach a maximum of people. On Sunday, the volunteers will also distribute information at the Luanda football stadium.
It is expected that, only in Luanda, around half a million persons will be reached through this information rally carried out by the scouts.
A second Marburg information round will take place next week-end. “For the time being we have provided the volunteers with the basic material to be distributed massively. During the course of next week, we will conduct in-depth training so they can further interact with the people they reach and, if needed, provide clarifications on the epidemic,” explained Celso Malavoloneke.
On 11 April, television and radio stations across Angola began broadcasting around the clock, a series of five Public Service Announcements (PSAs) also outlining measures the population should take to avoid contracting the virus. The multi-media campaign was prepared in the eight national languages by the Ministry of Health, UNICEF and WHO.
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