The deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, which has already claimed more than 8,600 lives in West Africa, is slowly coming under control. However, the need for trusted information for public health campaigns, information and news is still key to halting the spread of the virus, and to help people pick up the pieces of their lives. Through the distribution of our solar and wind-up emergency Polaris radios, people in Sierra Leone will be able to access news and health information 24/7.
One of the reasons the Ebola virus in West Africa spiralled out of control was a lack of information on how to identify early symptoms and prevent transmission. Access to radio information that tells people what to do and where to go became key in stopping its spread. The need for trusted information doesn't end as the crisis lessens. Many poor and rural communities have low levels of literacy, don't own working radio sets and can't afford batteries. Electricity infrastructure is poor.
Our solar and wind-up emergency Polaris radios will provide access to radio stations, a trusted source of important information on health, news and education. Community radio stations have been broadcasting public health campaigns created locally, with international support; and Lifeline Energy is liaising with respected NGOs working on the ground to distribute the radios. Our radios have an LED light to enable people to see at night, and can also charge a cell phone.
The knock-on consequences of the Ebola outbreak are devastating. People have lost their livelihoods and social structures have been affected. Radio, the best and most cost-effective way of reaching people with information that is trusted, can play a role in supporting people to rebuild their lives. Our Polaris radio/lights do not need batteries, thus providing sustainable 24/7 access to local and international channels, important in a country with poor and expensive electricity infrastructure.