Information is one of the greatest weapons in the fight against Ebola.
(PRWEB) February 09, 2016
United Methodist Communications collaborated with Chocolate Moose Media and UNICEF Togo to create “Ebola: In Praise of Prevention,” an animated video designed to prevent the next widespread Ebola outbreak from occurring in West Africa.
English and French translations of the video are being distributed throughout Togo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and other African countries, with additional languages and dialects planned. The video can be viewed and downloaded free of charge at ebolavideo.org.
The video release coincides with the confirmation of two new Ebola cases in Sierra Leone, reinforcing the need for ongoing education and awareness to control the virus.
“Information is one of the great weapons in the fight against Ebola,” said the Rev. N. Neelley Hicks, director, ICT4D Church Initiatives at United Methodist Communications. “Delivering it in such a compelling manner as these videos can affect behavior change and even lead to healthier lives.”
The video was a global collaboration, with creation and development by Firdaus Kharas of Canada’s Chocolate Moose Media, Brent Quinn of South Africa, and animators at Artha Animation in India (the three collaborated on a previous Ebola video also). Grammy Award-winning vocalist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angelique Kidjo performed on the soundtrack composed by Andrew Huggett of Ottawa. United Methodist Communications and UNICEF Togo provided funding.
“UNICEF has been promoting awareness campaigns throughout West Africa in order to ensure that people will have accurate information and knowledge about Ebola,” said Dr. Isselmou Boukhary, UNICEF Representative in Togo. “This very attractive film is an important contribution in fighting rumors and misconceptions about the disease and will be able to reach a large audience, including children.”
“The success of this animated video will be measured by something not happening: the next outbreak of Ebola. We know we can prevent diseases like Ebola from ever occurring on a wide scale by mass education on preventative methods. Many lives can be saved,” said Kharas.
Primarily accessed through download for local playback, all partners will use their various networks and channels to distribute the video widely in order to reach as many people as possible. Distribution channels include many international organizations, non-governmental organizations, civil society and churches and through social media using the hashtag #Ebolavideo.
“In Praise of Prevention” follows the 2014 release of “Ebola: A Poem for the Living,” which aims to dispel myths about how Ebola is spread and promotes prevention of the disease. “A Poem for the Living” has been created in 17 versions for distribution throughout West Africa. The video and accompanying resources have received widespread attention, with an estimated 250,000 people in four districts in Sierra Leone alone having received the information and more than 1 million views online.
The 2014/2015 outbreak, the worst in reported history, had more than 28,000 cases and more than 11,000 deaths worldwide, as reported by officials, with the majority of them in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
UNICEF has been at the forefront of the fight against Ebola in the three affected countries but also supported Ebola preparedness activities in the countries at risk in West Africa. In particular, UNICEF scaled up social mobilization activities to raise Ebola awareness. UNICEF and partners reached more than 3.6 million households with interpersonal communication and skills training on Ebola prevention across the three affected countries. Daily Ebola prevention and awareness messages were broadcast in local languages on 142 radio stations. Public awareness campaigns took place in markets, border posts and bus terminals. Mass communication activities through radios and television segments were carried out and communication materials (flyers and banners) were widely distributed. In addition, approximately 3.2 million households in Ebola-affected areas received WASH kits from UNICEF. Efforts are ongoing in 2016 with the aim of reaching and maintaining zero cases in affected countries.
United Methodist Communications, the global communications agency of The United Methodist Church, is using a variety of approaches to help educate people in Ebola-affected and Ebola-prone areas about prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease, including providing text messages to clergy in Sierra Leone and Liberia, where nearly 70 percent of the population owns cell phones. During the 2014/2015 outbreak, commentaries on television, radio and in print by trusted leaders helped to correct misinformation and encourage cooperation with health programs to halt the spread of the disease.
Wild animals can transmit Ebola to humans who can then spread the disease through person-to-person transmission. Contact with the body of a deceased person can also play a role in the transmission of Ebola. According to the World Health Organization, raising awareness of risk factors for Ebola infection and protective measures that individuals can take is an effective way to reduce human transmission.
About United Methodist Communications
As the communications agency for The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Communications seeks to increase awareness and visibility of the denomination in communities and nations around the globe. United Methodist Communications also offers services, tools, products and resources for communications ministry.
About Chocolate Moose Media
Chocolate Moose Media produces animation, documentaries, films and television series designed to educate, entertain, and change societal and individual behavior via a process called Culture Shift, with a goal of positively influencing viewers’ knowledge, attitude and behavior in order to better the human condition. Get additional information at chocmoose.com.
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 about UNICEF and its work, visit unicef.org.