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  • Neelley Hicks

Communication as a Weapon Against Disease

Judith Osongo Yanga uses technology to impact her fellow neighbors and community members in East Congo.

By sharing the right media and messages via text, WhatsApp, radio and television, Judith works to reduce Ebola infections during an outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo.

At times, people of faith worry about who to follow – physicians or faith leaders. As an example, doctors may advise against touching those dead from Ebola, but failure to follow sacred traditional practices can leave a family with long lasting anguish. Judith helps to close the gap between faith and health through messages like this one sent by The United Methodist Church to those within the affected areas:

Cremation does rapidly what nature does more slowly. Do not fear. Your loved one is with God.* 

Head and Heart

To take hold, information must penetrate the head and the heart. Two new language versions (Lingala and Swahili) of the animation “In Praise of Prevention” will be broadcast via television and social media there in DRC. Judith is behind the scenes, getting the best translation and voice recording to make this happen.

Firdaus Kharas, creator of “In Praise of Prevention,” said, “Ebola is a preventable infection. We learnt that too late for many in West Africa but we know it now to prevent new outbreaks. It’s simple – we have to get life-saving Information out to those most at risk. That’s what we are doing with this animation.”

Judith is also bringing together faith leaders and physicians to discuss Ebola prevention on radio – still the most accessible form of media in Africa – to continue to close the gap in understanding physical practices of disease prevention.

Founder of Methodism John Wesley focused on healthcare as part of the life of faith. Perhaps he would be proud of today’s Methodists using new forms of media and broadcast methods to reach the world as their parish.

At the onset of the Ebola crisis, Harper Hill Global gave an emergency communications grant to fight this disease through information access. Your contributions may save someone’s life. Give today.

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