In the wake of the Ebola outbreak in the West African sub-region, BloggingGhana’s informGhana project has launched an SMS information service meant to complement its online efforts to disseminate information on the disease.
The SMS platform makes it possible to reach a large group of Ghanaians. Subscribers on any mobile network in Ghana can opt-in to receive verified information, tips and updates about the Ebola situation in Ghana.
To subscribe, mobile users can text Ebola to 1943. Subscribers will receive timely updates. The SMS service can also take questions, which will be forwarded to the right authority for the most appropriate response before an answer is sent to the subscriber. To ask a question, users can text the question to the same short code, 1943, by beginning their message with the word Ebola.
The service has been designed with flexibility in mind. Subscribers can unsubscribe just by texting Ebola Stop to 1943 (the same short code) anytime they feel they want to opt out.
The user’s carrier may charge a one-time fee of 10 pesewas for the subscription. This is one of the ways that Inform Ghana utilizes technology to engage and inform its constituents.
“For Ghanaians, this is the first irreversible virus after HIV that seems to threaten human existence. We simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak, especially as we are currently struggling to contain cholera. There is a need to ensure that we all implement preventive measures in our daily activities.” Nehemiah Attigah, Project manager.
InformGhana is supported by STAR-Ghana to ease information sharing and foster a better informed citizenry. It is focused on the thematic areas of governance, education, health and agriculture.
BloggingGhana is Ghana’s biggest organization of Ghanaian bloggers and bloggers interested in Ghana. It was formed in 2009 and incorporated in June 2011.
The organization has over 160 bloggers and social media enthusiasts registered.