WHAT WAS THE AIM OF THE SMS CAMPAIGN?
In fighting this virus that continued to take the life of countless Africans on a daily basis, the African Union (AU) sent about 1000 voluntary health care workers to the most affected countries i.e. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Therefore the aim of this campaign was to raise funds in assisting these voluntary care givers in helping to push out this epidemic from Africa.
HOW DOES THE CAMPAIGN WORKS?
The campaign started on the 2nd of December 2014 and it was decided it will run for 3 months, to end on February 2015.
This was an SMS mobile donation campaign. It was a collaboration between the African Union and some mobile network operators across Africa. Leading mobile operators in about 41 African countries joined in this campaign and partnered with AU in fighting this epidemic.
To make a donation, a person is required to text ‘STOP EBOLA’ to a designated code according to the country the person is. The short code used by most countries including Nigeria was 7979. Some few countries had different ones depending on the ones the network operator supported in that region.
Once the message is sent, the donation will be deducted from the sender’s airtime, an equivalent of $1 in the persons country will be deducted. This money was to be used in the fight against Ebola.
THE AFRICA AGAINST EBOLA SMS CAMPAIGN- A SUCCESS?
With much awareness and efforts from the African Union Support to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA), many Africans participated in this SMS campaign and to great success.
Money realized from the Africa against Ebola SMS campaign through donations from willing individuals from different countries was reported by the Africa against Ebola organization as totaling about $37,000,000. Together with the other contributions from some countries, NGOs, corporations and international institutions, the AU was able to raise enough in her fight against this epidemic which threatened the African continent.
On May 9th 2015, the WHO declares Liberia Ebola free after many months of intense fighting against this virus. As at the end of July, the WHO reports that some areas in Guinea are Ebola free while most parts are still under careful examination. Likewise in Sierra Leone, while some parts are declared Ebola free, the area is still under careful examination.
To a very large extent, the African Union’s Africa against Ebola SMS Campaign was a success. The donations helped in fighting the virus through acquisition of necessary infrastructure and equipments, and also in assisting the health workers who volunteered for the course.
The use of short codes and SMS has again proven to be a wonderful tool in organization and prompt response generation in yet another area out of the numerous applicable areas, the health sector. Bulk SMS is saving lives.
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Do you agree the Africa against Ebola SMS Campaign has proven to be a success? You can share your views and opinions in the comment box below.