New-Airtel-LogoThe global fight against ebola has since heated up and different countries and corporate bodies are taking part in raising awareness about the deadly and mostly fatal disease. As with many other diseases, raising awareness and giving the populations full knowledge of the situation goes a long way in managing it and eventually running it to the ground.

It is in this light that Bharti Airtel has partnered with Ministry of Health Kenya to support the government’s efforts to sensitize the public on Ebola preparedness, prevention and response plan. Airtel has over 300 Million customers across 20 countries across Asia and Africa. The partnership therefore provides a huge audience for the Ebola awareness initiative.

Through this partnership, Airtel will disseminate Ebola related communication designed by the Ministry of Health to its customers through SMS. Airtel will also provide a toll free number 1191 that customers using Airtel lines can reach the Ministry Of Health to report, and obtain feedback from the Ministry of Health Ebola response team. The Company will also provide free internet connectivity per month to the Ministry Emergency Communication Centre which will allow the ministry’s customer care team to respond efficiently and effectively to Ebola queries raised on social media.

As Adil El Youssefi, Airtel Kenya CEO says, ’“Airtel is delighted at the opportunity to be able to play a part in educating the public on the management of Ebola. This is in line with the company’s spirit of using its communication technology in support of community health programs.” Commenting on the partnership, Airtel Kenya CEO Adil El Youssefi said,

Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Health, James Macharia said; “The Ministry of Health is happy with the effort made by Airtel in sensitizing the public on Ebola. We believe that public private partnerships are critical in ensuring that we give our citizens the best health care possible. This is not only a constitutional mandate but a serious responsibility given to us. Our people can rest assured that government is doing everything possible to protect them from Ebola and indeed all other threats. We have procured the best technology and trained health care workers. This remains our assurance to Kenyans.”

Key facts from World Health Organization about Ebola.

  • Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
  • The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
  • The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
  • The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests, but the most recent outbreak in West Africa has involved major urban as well as rural areas.
  • Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilization.
  • Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.
  • There are currently no licensed Ebola vaccines but 2 potential candidates are undergoing evaluation.

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