Freedom Fone scenario: Cholera epidemic information help line

Watch the screencast - mp4 file (4.6MB)

During an epidemic, the people most vulnerable to infection are poor and illiterate, living in congested areas where sanitation is inadequate.

People collected rain water from a roadside drainage system in Harare Thursday, Jan . 22, 2009 despite the Cholera outbreak in the country.
© Associated Press  

Access to information about the disease - symptoms, first aid, emergency treatment centres - is often hard to come by and consequently large numbers of people lose their lives for want of basic assistance.

Outreach campaigns comprising audio materials in local languages could make a big difference - especially if the information can be accessed at any time, by people using ordinary mobile phones and landlines.

Useful to the medical teams responding to a crisis would be a channel through which health workers and or the public could promptly report new cases, or ask questions, in their own language.

Freedom Fone's voice menus and voice mail/leave-a-message functions are easy to set up and manage and would enable an organisation or government ministry to response very quickly to a developing health emergency.

To spread awareness of the call-in numbers associated with such a Freedom Fone service, try and engage public and community radio stations, mobile network operators and other local media. Also consider posters, leaflets and stickers.