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Ebola information on sachet water bags

Sachet water is widely distributed and consumed in the affected regions, also in rural communities. Information about Ebola (symptoms, risks, to dos) could be printed on the bags to inform in simple, catchy words and symbols. People who consumer sachet water are already aware of the need of clean water for their health. So, there is an understanding of hygiene, and a level of trust in the product and its supplier. This is an ideal starting point to raise awareness for ebola and encourage action in the case someone has symptoms or oberserves them at someone else. Water could also be given for free to communities to accelerate distribution. Also, other food products could be used, e.g. rice bags (or the local equalivant).

Photo of Carolin Weisser
24 29

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INFORMATION ON THE BAG:
1. Ebola is a risk for your life and for that of your family and community
2. That are the symptoms: ...
3. Prevention and treatment is possible if you seek help early!
4. Go to a nearby hospital or treatment center

ADVANTAGES:
- Easy to produce
- Existing distribution network which also reaches rural communities
- Existing awareness for hygiene and the correlation with health
- Level of trust with the product "sachet water"
- Reaches individuals and communities overall
- Can be given out by ebola information teams who visit the communities. It may help them to be accepted by the citizens as they give something for free which people need
- Can be handed out to community leaders and/or religious leading to provide the water to people visiting services and communities gatherings

WHAT I NEED FROM THE COMMUNITY TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN
- Someone with experience in health communication in the specific cultural context
- Someone who can help to get in contact with sachet water producing and distributing companies (or chambers of commerce, trade association who can give contacts)
- A graphic designer who can also produce the print file to be provided to the local partners
- Translater in local language
- Feedback if something similar was done before and the learnings
 

24 comments

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Comment
Photo of Francisca Morgan
Team

I like your idea. I am writing a paper for my class How to Change the World, with Coursera, about the subject on how to educate the affected people on Ebola.
I have the following questions.
How can we know, learn about the culture of the affected people, so we can connect to them.
What experts are needed to write the message? Artists, scientists…
How can the message be delivered? Brochures, songs, video
What media? What technology is available or is it none in some cases.
Time. This virus is moving rapidly. Can information to educate the affected people be implemented soon enough?

Photo of Stefanie Bassler
Team

Hi Carolin! I love your idea because it is not very costly and has a big potential to make an impact. Although medical treatment is extremely important for this issue, it can be argued that education is just as important. If people don't know how the virus spreads, there will be little hope in slowing down and eventually stopping the disease in its path.

I think the design you're creating can be used on more than just the sachet water bags, although this is a great place to start. I read that many people in Liberia have to go to charging stations to charge their cell phones because of lack of electricity. It might be interesting to replicate your designs on other public places such as these where people gather. The more people are exposed to this educational information, the more of a chance we have on preventing healthy people from getting the disease.

Keep up the great work!

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Hi Carolin and team! Thanks so much for joining the conversation with your amazing insights, expertise and passion. Congratulations on making our highlights list, we were really impressed by the potential your idea has to help rapidly equip care communities in the fight against Ebola and we hope that it will inspire the community to contribute more to the cause. Thank you!

Photo of Howard Boyle
Team

I had no idea that the patients in the affected areas of the outbreak were short on water. is the local water contaminated...?

Photo of Ariel Martín Pérez
Team

In many underdeveloped countries, water from public sources is often contaminated with pathogens, so in order to drink it safely, it needs to be boiled, filtered or treated with chemicals. But clean water is also sold in plastic sachets that can be stored in fridges, they're more expensive but they're popular because they're fresh so they allow to escape the heat for a brief moment (source: my own experience).

Photo of Gerardo Contreras V
Team

Hi Carolin,
This is a great idea! I can help you with graphic design. Do you have the contact of the sachet water producers?

Photo of Carolin Weisser
Team

Wonderful! I will be in Ghana soon and might be able to talk to people of can help me in this issue. If anybody else has an idea I'm very happy!

Photo of Gerardo Contreras V
Team

Just let me know as soon as you need my support with design! I have been doing some research and there are great examples of similar projects we can learn from.

Photo of Carolin Weisser
Team

This is great! Can you share those examples? I would prepare the brief for the design also using those examples

Photo of Lynn Lawry
Team

Another thought...these bags need to be gender neutral or there needs to be bags on prevention for survivors (ie. no sex for 90 days after survival as men and women carry the virus in semen and breastmilk for 90 days after survival. I think this is the missing link in much of the transmission given how little power women have in these countries over sex per my research in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

A large awareness campaign needs to be carried regarding both of the facts that you mention or the virus will never be contained. Do you have any stats on breastfeeding in the effected countries? Is it clear for how long the virus remains in breast milk?

Perhaps a Use Condoms campaign needs to be initiated?
Lynn what type of HIV prevention campaigns do they have in these countries? Might need to piggyback onto those messages re: using condoms?

Photo of Lynn Lawry
Team

Bettina, good questions, WHO estimates anywhere up to 90 days..some less so not enough data but enough to say that it is in the breast milk.

You can find all of these stats (http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/) For Sierra Leone:
Early initiation of breastfeeding (%), 2008-2012*
44.6%
Exclusive breastfeeding <6 months (%), 2008-2012*
31.6%

But please see the following guidance: http://www.ennonline.net/operationalguidanceiycfv2.1 Formula is RARELY a good idea in these countries and it is UNICEF who should be involved in this so women who need supplemental feeding or even wet nurses can be followed.

Bringing formula into a country that needs to breastfeed is deadly and not done. With one exception (Iraq) where breastfeeding rates were low. However, it was decided to leave the formula in the maternity supplemental feeding baskets because the women bartered or sold the formula for money (long story).

All of these countries have PEPFAR (http://www.pepfar.gov/countries/bilateral/) programs and funds; messages could be changed/modified.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Thanks Lynn. I will check some of the links. As a pediatrician, and as a person, I advocate breast is best. I read some articles as I was researching for the Zero to Five which reported exclusive breastfeeding rates are low in Western Africa and that some mothers use water, juice, herbs to feed infants. Seems that Unicef has multimedia breastfeeding campaigns that are helping to educate and there has been slow success.
I will check out PEPFAR. Seems that ebola complicates the picture.

Photo of Lynn Lawry
Team

And if they have formula they mix it with dirty water or water it down to save money.

Photo of Carolin Weisser
Team

Hi!
Thank you all for your comments!!
In this report from TV, the German NGO "Welthungerhilfe" cooperates with the government of Sierra Leone and gives out food to rural communities. This also includes sachet water. Check min 03:53

http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/2256342/Der-verzweifelte-Kampf-gegen-Ebola#/beitrag/video/2256342/Der-verzweifelte-Kampf-gegen-Ebola

Photo of Grace Hoerner
Team

Cool idea! I also know sachet water from Ghana - a quick google search suggests it is common in Sierra Leone and Liberia as well, although it'd be helpful if someone with firsthand knowledge could comment. The only risk I could see is that people may hesitate to buy water with ebola symbols on it unless the messaging is extremely clear for all. Regardless, I think the idea of using existing supply chains that already reach remote areas to distribute information has huge potential.

Photo of Hilary Braseth
Team

Hi Carolin,

Great contribution! Water sachets are definitely distributed in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. I know one major water company in Guinea is called Coyah, though unfortunately I'm not sure the company has a website. This is a great start, though---I'd encourage you to keep up the search and finding other ideas-posters on the site who may have local on-the-ground contacts in either country. Perhaps reaching out to them would produce viable contacts.

Great work and keep on keepin' on!

H.

Photo of Lynn Lawry
Team

Carolin, I love the idea but remember the war cut education and many have not caught up or can afford schools so the information needs to be diagrammatic or in pictures.

Photo of Carolin Weisser
Team

There is a good video by Unicef about social workers in Ivory Coast educating the population about Ebola with
- Radio programmes
- Community visits
- Posters
- School education

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/cotedivoire_76203.html

Photo of Alex Haagaard
Team

Carolin, I think this is a great idea. One consideration that has arisen on my Idea is the use of local language/imagery for Ebola, to encourage care-seeking behaviour. In particular, I have found during my reading that naming the disease is sometimes thought to summon it. I think that working with local terminology and imagery (including those derived from magicoreligious traditions) could help to promote acceptance of educational materials. In the context of your Idea, using this kind of language and imagery on the water sachets could be a good step to enlisting users. Bettina has mentioned that she will speak with members of the West African diaspora at her job site about the language of disease, which I think could provide some interesting results!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Carolin,
Great idea. Is this water affordable for most of these community members? I have never heard of packaged water for these communities. Interesting.

Photo of Lynn Lawry
Team

Bettina, they are everywhere on the streets sold and affordable (or were before Ebola). Lynn

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congratulations on being the featured ideas post today! Thanks for joining the conversation and sharing your valuable insights with the community. Keep it up!

Photo of Deborah Paterson
Team

Hi Caro, great to have you join the conversation. Your idea is very simple, but could be really effective, cheap and easy to produce in order to spread information to a large community. Leveraging a product and activity the community is already doing is great.

Have you got sketch or another image of what kind of information would be included on the sachets and how it might be presented? What kinds of things do you need from the community to help make this happen? A graphic designer? A healthcare expert? Feel free to add wants/needs/questions to your post using the update post button on the right :) Keep at it!