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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Myths about Ebola dispelled in Animation Film

By Esther Nakkazi
There is a call to the church and all clergy to join in the efforts to educate the world about Ebola led by the United Methodist Church. Commentaries by trusted leaders encourage cooperation with health programs they say.

Through the United Methodist Communications http://www.umcom.org the global communications agency of The United Methodist Church, and collaborations with Chocolate Moose Media http://www.chocmoose.com and iHeed http://www.iheed.org, a mobile-health-education innovator., they have created an animation in a free video http://www.ebolavideo.org that also calls for the local people to support the health workers and the scientists. The film is for West Africans and will dispel myths about how Ebola is spread and it will promote prevention efforts.

“Our goal is to provide education that leads to better understanding to prevent infections,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications in a press release.
“Ebola gains foothold in poor communities where mistrust, resistance to proper care and lack of understanding of the virus and is widespread. The church’s advantage lies in its network of trusted leaders who live in the affected regions.”

United Methodist Communications is using several approaches, including providing text messages to clergy in Sierra Leone and Liberia.



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The press release further says; "I have created what I hope will be a compelling video to prevent the spread of Ebola,” said Chocolate Moose Media founder and award-winning director Firdaus Kharas. “My approach is to combine animation with non-coercive persuasion by having Africans speak to their own broader family.”

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. “Digital media can fill the gaps. In combination with technologies such as mobile phones, cinemas, projectors and tablets, animated information can help."

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 Oct. 3 (http://goo.gl/ni3P1M), 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.

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