The BBC World Service has collaborated with Mxit, the mobile social network designed for emerging market youth, to make critical information about Ebola easily available to people in West- African countries.
A free app on the platform, Ebola Info, provides users with the most important information, simple prevention guides and telephone hotlines in the highly affected zones. The BBC World Service’s 30-second podcasts featuring updates and ways to avoid Ebola are also made available through the app in both English and French.
In many of the affected countries, access to the web and ownership of a smart device is beyond the reach of those who need it the most. Mxit is unique because it breaks down those barriers and allows accessibility and support on more than 8 000 mobile devices, reaching areas where only 2G connectivity is available.
“We believe that one of our most important roles is to act as a technology conduit, linking experts such as the BBC World Service and their content and services with the people who need it most,” says Ben-Carl Havemann, Marketing and Communications Manager at Mxit. For Mxit, making the information freely available on a mobile platform is only the first step as they continue to work on dynamic ways to effectively link cases to care.
To access the app, users simply have to download Mxit at m.mxit.com and add Ebola Info from the Apps menu on Mxit. To assist with the discovery of the app, it has also been set as default for all existing and new user accounts in African countries, excluding South Africa.