Airtel partners AU to ‘kick Ebola out of Africa’
DECEMBER 4, 2014 By: Sahr Morris Jr.
Mobile telecommunication operator, Airtel has taken another lead in the fight against the Ebola virus in the country by partnering with the African Union (AU) and eight other mobile network operators in Africa to support the fight against Ebola in West Africa.
On Wednesday at the company’s headquarters at Hill Station, Managing Director of Airtel, Sudipto Chowdhury together with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC), Retired Major Alfred Palo Conteh and the Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Alpha Kanu, officially unveiled a short code – 7979 – where Sierra Leoneans and Airtel subscribers can contribute towards the fight by making a donation of just Le1,000 through text message by typing ‘donate’ to the short code.
According to Mr. Chowdhury, it’s a matter of must that every Airtel staff must make such donation towards the fight against Ebola, as all Sierra Leoneans.
“If we all contribute Le1,000 we will have enough money for our health workers who are leading the fight against the virus. This is not only taking place in Sierra Leone but also other parts in Africa,” he said. “The SMS fundraising campaign will give all subscribers the opportunity to contribute towards the fight against Ebola, as just a thousand Leones will be deducted from your account for every text message you send.”
The Airtel MD further disclosed that the funds will be utilized by the AU and that they are hoping to raise over one billion Leones towards this fight.
NERC boss, Retired Major Alfred Palo Conteh, said he is delighted for such support and very much impressed with the AU and mobile operators in Africa. He said the Ebola outbreak has affected the country’s economy greatly and all facets of society have felt the pinch of the virus, thus the need for all to join the fight to get rid of the virus as soon as possible.
“I want to commend the Airtel MD for such move and we will give our 100% support towards this,” Conteh said.
Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Alpha Kanu, said it is significant that the mobile phone companies are coming together to help fight against the disease, stressing that “it is Africa that must find a solution to Africa’s problems”.
“It is important to know that Airtel as a company took the first step towards the fight against Ebola, so I am not surprised by this. As Sierra Leoneans, we must follow all the call and safety rules to fight against the disease,” Kanu urged.
With him donating the sum of one million Leones, the Information Minister encouraged all Sierra Leoneans to use the short code (7979) and make their donation towards the Ebola fight.