Originally published on CNN.com on November 13, 2014 by Alex Court
And in Nigeria a system called UReport has been praised for de-bunking myths about Ebola. Developed by UNICEF, the technology allows citizens to ask questions and get replies in real-time. The added feature is that users can re-broadcast those answers to friends and relatives via SMS. According to Aboubacar Kampo, UNICEF Nigeria’s chief of health, the free tool saw the number of subscribers double within first 24 hours of the Ebola outbreak, because of the accuracy of information available on the platform.
It was partly due to experts commenting on UReport that citizens started rejecting advice that salt water can protect against the virus — a hoax which lead to the deaths of at least two people.
In Liberia, a text-message system aimed at health workers on the frontline is also gaining traction. Launched by the country’s ministry of health and UNICEF, mHero (Mobile Health Worker Ebola Response and Outreach) connects the ministry and health workers in real time by broadcasting messages about care and prevention. The platform also lets health workers know when their hazard pay is available as well as the status of dead bodies in communities.