Three local mobile telecom companies have partnered with the African Union Commission (AU) to garner resources in support of Ebola-affected countries in West Africa.
This was announced yesterday at a press conference attended by Airtel, Tigo, and MTN officials at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Kigali.
The three- month fund-raising drive will rely on donations from customers of the respective companies through texting the phrase ‘Stop Ebola’ to 7979, at a cost of Rwf150 per SMS across all networks.
Addressing the joint press conference, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, the Minister for Health said: “The campaign is an important milestone toward mobilising resources to help our sister African countries devastated by the Ebola outbreak. It is great to see telecom companies come together in efforts to avert the spread of the virus.”
On behalf of the telecom service providers, Airtel Rwanda's Managing Director, Teddy Bhullar said, “mobile communication remains the most powerful communications tool providing reach to larger populations. The use of mobile phones for this campaign offers an opportunity to Rwandans to collectively support countries affected by this deadly disease as well as drive action beyond borders.”
The campaign dubbed “United Against Ebola” has seen AU partner with several telecom companies across Africa, including Airtel Africa, MTN, Tigo, Orange, Vodacom and Safaricom to raise funds from a potential 300 million subscribers on the continent to improve Ebola responsiveness.
Sierra Leone is reported to have the highest number of Ebola cases of any country, according to the most recent World Health Organisation statistics.
Sierra Leone has seen 7,780 cases of Ebola, more than the 7,719 cases in Liberia, according to WHO figures published on Monday. Some 17,800 people have fallen ill with the virus in those two countries and in Guinea, 6,187 of whom have died.