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engagement from Finland

Understanding Africa

Representing Africans


Fireworks at Kansalaistori Square, Helsinki, to celebrate a century of Finnish independence (Photo: Finland 100)

Fireworks in Helsinki, to celebrate a century of Finnish independence (Photo: Finland 100)

How mobile companies can help fight Ebola

Ebola is a real and present crisis which has already caused many deaths in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.

In Sierra Leone, the mobile operator Airtel has been working with the Red Cross to combat the disease. Each month more than two million text messages are sent out as part of an integrated information programme. This programme advises communities on how to avoid catching the disease, how to recognise the symptoms and what to do if they think someone has caught Ebola.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is convinced that this is proving a major help in the battle.

The TERA ProjectSMS messages can be sent to communities across the country providing simple information on Ebola (Photo: Julien Goldstein)

The Trilogy Emergency Relief Application (TERA) project promoted by the IFRC aims to install systems within operators which are capable of sending location sensitive SMS messages.

The TERA project is designed to cause as little disruption as possible to the mobile network.

Because of the emergency in West Africa, IFRC now plans to extend the project to countries surrounding the current outbreak: Benin, Togo, Ghana, Mali, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, and Burkina Faso.

Help needed

To succeed, IFRC needs the urgent help of operators in those countries. It also needs help in effecting implementation of these systems.

Time is of the essence. The quicker implementation can begin, the more lives can be saved and the more sure all concerned can be of containing this epidemic.