The public-health crisis in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia remains critical as a result of the recent Ebola outbreak. Existing hospitals are ill-equipped, medical staff are too few, current workers exhausted, and these local health systems are near collapse. The challenge ahead for the country and sub region is beyond the needs of hospitals and medical professionals. The Ebola outbreak has revealed a deeply complicated social dimension to this type of public health crisis.
As filmmakers and storytellers we feel we have an important role to play in the current crisis. Misinformation and distrust are causing people to not seek treated and without question is allowing the disease to spread more widely. WeOwnTV production manager Barmmy Boy explains, ”When it is being put into film, people will definitely believe because it is not coming from a big politician, or an expert, or a doctor. It’s coming from the locals themselves who are living in these communities,” The campaign, according to WeOwnTV Education manager Arthur Pratt, already seems to be working. “Attitudes are changing—people are not denying anymore. Actions are changing towards the issues.”
Filmmakers at WeOwnTV and the Sierra Leone Film Council have been working with the Health Ministry and WHO to produce a series of educational videos for wide distribution on local television and radio to help sensitize the country about the current Ebola disease epidemic. The objectives of the campaign are to raise awareness within both rural and urban population across communities in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea on the Ebola virus symptoms, prevention and care for Ebola survivors. We are also producing documentary content to be shared internationally that will help deepen understanding and inspire compassion by sharing a more human side to the crisis.
Thank you to all the generous donors who have supported us in this effort. This campaign is supported in part by grants from The Bertha Foundation, The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, The Fledgling Fund and individual donors.
08/20/14: The Daily Beast
08/23/14: BBC World Service NewsHour