Healing & Prevention with a Hallmark Card
Diseases flourish in communities where there is a lack of education, clean water, sanitary practices, and most of all, trust. This is a simple idea that could rapidly spread information, improve communication, hopefully dispel distrust, and give people the basic instructions they need to prevent infection and seek help when someone does get sick.
Hallmark cards and other card companies are currently using small, inexpensive recording and audio devices in some of their cards. People can record a personal message and mail the card. Some cards come with "happy birthday" pre-loaded.
How can this help fight Ebola?
Think about the barriers to communicating prevention and care instructions: low literacy, different languages or dialects, and distribution.
One could take the existing card materials (a card that plays a recording upon being opened) or make a flat "single" card with a button to press. Each card should have directional illustrations that can be easily understood without any or minimal writing. When people interact with the card a more detailed message would play. Each card could have one topic each, the key ones would be:
1. Prevention (maybe include recommendations for sanitary practices that can be accomplished in areas without clean water.).
2. What to do if you or a loved one gets sick
3. Where to find care and WHAT to expect (especially important to dispel mistrust of doctors and nurses)
4. What IS Ebola? - what it is, how it spreads, and what it's not. Address cultural beliefs and practices that contribute to its spreading.
5. Safe travel and screening practices
Now distribution. These cards are small and could be sent in exhisting mail or courier channels, and also be included in any "care packages/survival packages" that would need to be air dropped to more remote locations. Cards could also be easily posted up in public places (with pins, nails, tape, or glue) such as bus stops, markets, airports, church communities, and more.
Hopefully something like this gets the right information out and helps people get the care they need.