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Effective and Meaningful Communication: A Toolkit for Caregivers

There exists cultural and communication gaps between the people in Ebola outbreak areas and ideal measures of disease prevention and containment. Rituals, fear, and lack of knowledge about Ebola can all lead to the citizens not protecting themselves properly while still panicking about the spread and Ebola. We are focusing on non-professional caregivers, including volunteer healthcare workers, family member of patient, or anyone taking care of Ebola patients who does not have adequate knowledge of the disease or who does not have adequate skills to perform care-taking tasks specifically for Ebola patients. We propose to create a toolkit to educate local non-professional caregivers of basic knowledge of Ebola, and how to protect themselves.

Photo of Xinran Lu
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Challenge 1
These non-professional caregivers are individuals in different households, and how might we educate them in communities, and provide them with the proper tools and knowledge so that they can be more comfortable and confident near patients?

System design of the toolkit: People and organizations with resources donate toolkits to people in need, especially to communities in outbreak areas of West Africa. Toolkits are distributed by local healthcare authorities (hospitals and care centers) to communities and households.

Challenge 2
How might we help better communicate the essential knowledge to these caregivers? What are some formats and elements that can encourage acceptance of these knowledge, and turn information into actionable items?

Communication design of the toolkit: using illustrations and local languages to make information around Ebola easy to understand. Dispel myths and mitigate fear towards Ebola. Design worksheets for more involvement of the audience.

The toolkit
1. Brochure/Workbook:
– A brief history of Ebola.
– How does the virus spread? How to protect myself from Ebola?
– What are the key symptoms? What to do if I show symptoms?
– Track your health status (Body temperature, any symptoms?)

2. Tools:
Gloves
– Protective eye wear
– Face mask
– Protective boots
– Protective suit
– Alcohol hand sanitizer
– Clinical waste bags
– Thermometer

3. Stickers:
Color coded stickers with instructions on how to use each tool, and why should the caregiver use each tool.

Why it will work?
Protective tools and healthcare instructions are made available and approachable.
Help develop trust between caregiver, patients, and healthcare authorities.

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