Life-saving information helps reduce spread of Ebola across West Africa
DAKAR, Senegal, 10 April 2014 – 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.
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.
“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.”
“Ebola kills people; but more lives are put at risk because of lack of information or misinformation though rumours,” stressed Borghese. “There is no existing vaccine against Ebola. Bringing patients with suspected symptoms to health centres as soon as possible increases their chances of survival and prevents other people from getting infected.”
UNICEF is urgently appealing for US$1.2 million for Guinea and almost US$1.3 million for neighbouring countries including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Mali, to provide disinfectant products, essential medicines, life-saving supplies and communication support crucially needed to stop Ebola from spreading further across West Africa.
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In Guinea, UNICEF and partners are communicating life-saving information about the disease door-to-door and distributing posters and leaflets. In Liberia, UNICEF has worked with telecommunications companies to send out 500,000 text messages about Ebola.
Across Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire, UNICEF is taking part in local radio shows. In Cote d'Ivoire, in addition to hygiene equipment, UNICEF has supported health districts in the region of Man with four tents that have been set up as isolation centres. In Mali, UNICEF is helping to develop communication messages around hygiene practices to be disseminated through community radio networks in the affected regions.
In the most-affected areas of Guinea including the capital Conakry, UNICEF has distributed 77,400 bottles of liquid chlorine, more than 300,000 bars of soap, 150,000 pairs of gloves, 670 sprayers and 1,650kg of Calcium Hypochlorite (HCH) to medical workers and communities.
In Liberia, UNICEF has provided seven cholera kits, eight large tents to establish isolation units, 15,360 pieces of soap, 725 kg of chlorine and disinfectant products, 100 basic family water kits, 4,830 boxes of disinfectant, over 9,200 buckets and 2,360 jerry cans.
In addition, UNICEF is supplying national and local health authorities in Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Mali with prevention medical equipment, including soap, gloves, tents, hygiene kits and two large isolation units, required to help contain and prevent Ebola.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information, please contact:
Laurent Duvillier, UNICEF in Dakar, Tel (+221) 77 740 35 77, firstname.lastname@example.org