The unprecedented Ebola epidemic in West Africa has now taken the lives of more than 6,346 people and infected more than 17,800 people in the region. Ebola is a threat to people, health systems and economies around the globe. But West African communities in particular are being hammered by Ebola as a result of already-strained healthcare systems, mistrust of healthcare workers and fear and stigmatization of those infected. One major aspect to halting the epidemic is to ensure that healthcare workers, patients, and the public receive accurate information that dispels myths, promotes prevention methods and outlines resources for those affected by Ebola.
To aid in that effort, a new health communications campaign, Africa United was launched earlier this month by the CDC Foundation, well-known actor Idris Elba, a global team of African soccer stars and international health organizations.
For Africa United, Elba and a team of professional soccer stars, who have ties to West Africa, appear in new public service announcements (PSAs). The first PSA, titled “We’ve Got Your Back,” is aimed at engendering solidarity for healthcare workers who are on the front lines working to protect the public from Ebola. In another campaign video titled “West Africa vs. Ebola,” Elba stars as a soccer coach giving a rousing and educational team talk to West Africa in preparation for its “life or death” game against Ebola. Elba explains the symptoms of Ebola and tactics for how to beat the virus, which includes spreading the word and working as a team.
I am very proud of the CDC Foundation’s backing of this important effort, and I appreciate the support of the many organizations who have come together and donated their time, voice, creativity and skills to make this communications campaign possible. This collaborative effort is an example of why public-private partnerships are crucial in uniting organizations to work together to address public health challenges—including the spread of Ebola.
To learn more about Africa United and to view the educational materials, visit www.WeAreAfricaUnited.org.