By Watmore Makokoba
The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare with support from Mimosa Mining Company has joined hands to facilitate the establishment of an Ebola awareness and alertness multimedia platform – www.letsgozero.co.zw. According to the World Health Organisation, Ebola is transmitted to people from wild animals & spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
The website allows the Ministry and the general public to communicate appropriate information pertaining to the Ebola Virus using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Google+.
The website uses YouTube videos to share information on symptoms, alert messages and feedback, pictures and important links to other relevant health organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO).
This latest initiative is one among other precautionary measure facilities already donated to the Ministry of Health by Zvishavane-based Mimosa Mining Company as part of their corporate social responsibility towards strengthening the country’s preparedness, alertness and awareness of the Ebola Virus.
The Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Paul Chimedza, while officially launching the “let’s go zero “website in Harare recently, said the Ministry muted the idea of establishing such a platform as a way of sending and sharing the appropriate and accurate information to the general public.
“We have discovered as government that as long as we don’t win the war on social media, incorrect information about the Ebola virus will continue to go viral causing unnecessary panic, anxiety and fear among community members.
As part of their social responsibility, Mimosa acquired equipment that includes thermo detectors, isolation facilities, television monitors installed and stationed on all ‘border post where the ministry has deployed staff to monitor people’s movement.
Delivering a speech during the ceremony, Corporate Affairs Manager, Ms Nerwande implored the corporate world to react swiftly in response to any social instability and to plough back to the communities where they operate from.
“The company valued the need expressed by the Ministry to establish facilities to set preparedness and alertness mechanisms on the Ebola Virus, in association with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare we facilitated the establishment of the “let’s go zero” multimedia platform to contribute to fight against the virus’’.
The World Health Organization (WHO) country representative, Dr David Okello, who was a special guest at the event applauded the initiative and dispelled speculative information that circulated through social media platforms and thereby misleading the public about Ebola.
“Information is very important in such a tragic outbreak, it’s not good to keep people guessing ,so we need to keep people well informed ,so this website will go a long way in disseminating information to keep people and government alert, cushion any fears and panic about the Ebola virus’’.
“Contrary to incorrect information that went viral on social media, there is a silver lining at the end of the tunnel, recently Nigeria which had earlier on encountered one confirmed case has been officially declared ‘Ebola free and recently a single case in Senegal has been contained, above all, there is no confirmed Ebola case in Zimbabwe”.
According to WHO, Ebola has a mortality rate of up to 90% and has affected approximately 10,000 people since the outbreak in mostly West African countries.