Millicom has joined the African Union to campaign to raise funds to fight against Ebola in West Africa.
The initiative, operating under the hashtag ‘#AfricaAgainstEbola’, will use an SMS dedicated platform to raise funds for the deployment of African health workers to affected countries.
Ebola has claimed over five thousand lives across some parts of West Africa since it was first reported in Guinea in December 2013. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), this is the largest outbreak on the continent, affecting mostly Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
At a recent Business Roundtable on Ebola hosted by the AU, mobile operators committed to support efforts to fight Ebola by unveiling an Africa -wide three-month campaign dubbed, ‘Africa against Ebola’. This will focus on donations from members of the public who are customers of the operators and will be channelled into fighting the Ebola Virus.
The AU is leading this effort under its African Union Support to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA) mission, which has so far deployed 90 health workers to the three affected countries.
Commenting on the initiative, African Union Commission Chairperson, Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma,said:“We are conscious of the urgent need for all of us to do more, and to act fast. It is only by acting together will we ensure that our continent and world is free of Ebola. Let me repeat our call to all Africans to lead the global efforts of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
”The SMS fundraising campaign will use the short code 7979 with local adaptations where technology requires. Customers will be asked to text ‘Stop Ebola’ to this code in order to donate in their respective countries. Mobile Operators across Africa including Airtel, Econet Wireless, Etisalat, MTN Group, Orange, Safaricom, Vodacom and Vodafone Ghana are participating in this campaign which will run between now and the end of February 2015.
Rachel Samrén, Project leader of the joint-operator campaign and Executive Vice President Strategic Operations and Partnerships at Millicom, commented “it has been a privilege to work with sector peers on this important cause and the spirit and determination of the operator group to get the campaign up and running has been truly inspiring. We are delighted to be part of the campaign.”