A WORTHING charity has sent 1,000 solar-powered radios to Sierra Leone in the fight to stop the spread of Ebola.
Vital health messages will be sent using the radios, provided by Feba, in Ivy Arch Road, to enable listeners to hear programmes including messages on hygiene and prevention of the virus.
Feba director of partnerships Stephanie Murray said: “Using media to deliver vital information is a key part of the response to the Ebola crisis.
“Not only can radio deliver life-saving messages to people who may be in isolated rural areas, but as schools are closed due to efforts to contain the disease, children could listen to educational broadcasts to continue their studies.”
The decision to donate radios was made after an assessment revealed only a third of households in Sierra Leone had one.
But it has found it difficult to ship them after the suspension of some transport services.
In order to arrive there, the radios had to be sent from Hong Kong via Germany, Brussels and Nigeria.
The package has now cleared customs and are with Feba’s partners in the country’s capital, Freetown, for distribution.
Mrs Murray said 1,000 radios was the start but the charity hoped to send even more.
She said: “With many public gatherings banned to avoid further contagion, having a radio at home will mean people can hear public service announcements, such as information about the provision of food to quarantined families.
“We are also keen that we support our partners to address issues of burial rites, stigma to survivors, education shortfalls, information regarding the care of Ebola patients as well as delivering messages of hope and support for Ebola patients and affected families.”
According to latest figures, Sierra Leone has seen more than 7,900 confirmed Ebola cases, with further suspected cases estimated to bring the tally up to 10,300.
Around 2,700 of those cases have resulted in deaths.
Feba are not the only ones from Worthing working in Sierra Leone in the Ebola fight.
Paramedic Chris Williams, travelled to Freetown before Christmas as part of a team of volunteers going out to the region to help those suffering from the virus.
He was part of the second cohort of NHS staff who have been deployed to the region by UK-Med and led through Department for International Development.
Feba chief executive Bob Chambers added: “We strive to serve some of the world’s most vulnerable communities – whether that’s by enabling them to engage with relevant issues in a new way or getting the life-saving information they need. Radio is not only powerful, it is also personal and versatile.”
For more information, visit www.feba.org.uk/donate