The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, or IFRC, has sent about two million text messages a month to Sierra Leoneans since the Ebola outbreak began in March. The messages advise people how to avoid getting infected, and to seek immediate treatment if they do catch the virus.
The Trilogy Emergency Relief Application system was rolled out in Sierra Leone last year following a cholera outbreak, and allows blanket SMS alerts to be sent to people in precise geographical areas.
Robin Burton is the IFRC’s mobile operator relations consultant. He says, “The service has been brilliant in Sierra Leone, and other countries want to follow suit because Ebola is a clear and present danger.” The charities plan to extend the service to Benin, Togo, Ghana, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Burkina Faso.
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