Campaign on Ebola and Cholera prevention in SHS launched

A Mobilization Campaign aimed at reaching Senior High Schools (SHS) students with informative messages on Cholera and Ebola prevention has been launched in Accra on Wednesday.

The campaign plans to mobilize about 750,000 students in 874 SHS across the country to promote key messages and action for the prevention of Cholera and Ebola, using youth friendly interventions.

It is under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and led by the Ministry of Education and the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Launching the initiative on behalf of the Deputy Minister of Education, Mr. Michael Inkoom, Director of Secondary Education Division of the Ghana Education Service, expressed satisfaction at the school-based programme, which stresses partnerships, innovation and edutainment.

“It is critical that the education sector works together with the health sector to ensure awareness creation leading to changes in behavior that reaches a wider audience through our children,” he said.

Mr Inkoom urged the teachers and officials of the SHS to ensure they practiced the campaign’s recommendations for preventing cholera and Ebola so as to encourage the students to do same.

Mr George Kumi Kyeremeh, the Director of Nursing Services at the Ministry of Health, who represented the Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Victor Bampoe, lauded the multi-sectoral initiative, saying, such responses were essential to tackle epidemics like Cholera and Ebola.

“I am glad that the Ghana Education Service, together with the UNICEF is taking the lead in the mobilization of young people,” he said, and called on all stakeholders to play their respective parts to make Ghana safer for present and future generations.

He also pledged the Ministry’s willingness to work with stakeholders to prevent Cholera and Ebola.

The campaign would also use mobile technology innovation, with a platform called “Agoo 5100”, created by UNICEF, in partnership with mobile telecommunications company MTN.

The platform is to enable greater access to reliable information for young people and can be accessed free of charge by MTN users by dialing the code 5100, whiles other mobile network users can access it by calling 0540-118-999.

The campaign include a karaoke song and dance choreography dubbed “We Dey Wash”; which encapsulates messages on both diseases, with a focus on hand washing with soap.

The musical piece is performed by local singers in eight different local languages, including Wanluv the Kubolor, Ayigbe Edem, Gasmilla, Sister Deborah, Yaa Pono, Noella Wiyaala, Sherifa Gunu, and Stevoo. The languages are English, English Pidgin, Ewe, Twi, Hausa, Dagbaani, Ga, Wale and Sisaala.

Mr Rahul De, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of MTN, said the company believed in the power of digital communications in improving access to health information.

He explained that the platform would be managed by UNICEF, with trained call centre staff and SMS functions. However, it is not meant to replace the doctor-patient relationship.

Ms. Rushnan Murtaza, the Deputy Country Representative of UNICEF, said people could defeat Cholera and Ebola through the practice of good personal hygiene.

“It only takes a little bit of time and effort to prevent these diseases, which is washing hands with soap under running water,” she stated.

Ms. Joana Adamson, the Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, who represented the main donors for the Campaign: Australia, Japan, and Netherlands, said Ebola was a global concern and not only for West Africa.

She noted that schools played a crucial role in preparedness efforts and thus lauded the partnership with the Ministry of Education and GES.

“I hope that what you learn from the campaign would stay with you for a long time” she said, and encouraged the students to share the information with their families, friends and communities. GNA

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