The battle against the deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging parts of West Africa has gone digital following the creation of an animation that dispels myths about how the disease is spread and promotes prevention.
The animation by United Methodist Communications in collaboration with Chocolate Moose Media and iHeed aims to provide education that leads to better understanding to prevent infection by the deadly disease that has killed over 4,000 people.
“Ebola gains foothold in poor communities where mistrust, resistance to proper care and lack of understanding of the virus is widespread. Our goal is provide education that leads to better understanding to prevent infection,” said Rev Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications.
United Methodist Communications, the global communications agency of The United Methodist Church, is using several approaches including providing text messages to clergy in Sierra Leone and Liberia to help battle the disease.
The agency provided partial funding for Chocolate Moose Media to create the video whose executive producer is iHeed, a mobile-health-education innovator.
“I have created what I hope will be a compelling video to prevent the spread of Ebola. My approach is to combine animation with non-coercive persuasion by having Africans speak to their own broader family,” said Chocolate Moose Media founder and award-winning director Firdaus Kharas.
Accessed through download for local playback, all partners will distribute the video to reach as many as possible. Distribution channels include international organizations, non-governmental organizations, civil society and churches and through social media using #Ebolavideo.
“Through a combination of weak health infrastructure, inconsistent levels of education and unpreparedness, this epidemic has become a global threat,” said Dr Kunal D. Patel, medical director of iHeed.
He added digital media in combination with technologies such as mobile phones, cinemas, projectors and tablets, animated information can help in reducing the spread of Ebola.
The United Methodist Church is responding in a number of other ways in a joint effort by the United Methodist Committee on Relief, West African United Methodist church leaders and regional health boards, denominational health facilities and others.
According to the World Health Organization, 7,470 cases of Ebola had been reported as of October 3, with 3,431 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Ebola is transmitted to humans from wild animals and spreads through person-to-person transmission. Contact with the body of a deceased person can also play a role in transmission.