Sierra Leone’s fight against the ravaging Ebola virus got an added boost when Airtel Sierra Leone, the subsidiary of Indian owned Bharti Airtel, announced it would dedicate One Leone of every phone call made by its 1.6 million customers across the country to the government’s effort in a programme called “Say Hello To Help”.
With more than 1000 dead from the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and more than a quarter of that from Sierra Leone, the country, still trying to piece itself together after a decade civil war, has continually cried out for more financial aid from any and every quarters.
Airtel Sierra Leone Managing Director Sudipo Chodhury says the fund generated from “Say Hello To Help” would be used by the government in the fight against Ebola and continue even after the end of the epidemic for other development strides.
Airtel had earlier been helping the Sierra Leonean government by assisting the Ministry of Health together with the World Health Organisation to design a Close User Group service for all contact tracers in the country. The company also sponsored the All Works of Life (AWOL) to intensify Ebola awareness as well as raise and distribute Hand Sanitizers to major schools in the country.
Chodhury described the fight against Ebola, which is already hitting the economy hard, as a must-join for international companies against what he described as Sierra Leone’s “biggest problems since the civil war”.
Describing Airtel’s intervention as “a silver lining in Sierra Leone’s dark cloud” Minister of Information Alpha Kanu thanked the company for its initiative several measures of assistance noting that the Company was the first to embrace the government’s call for a concerted effort in the fight against the dreadful disease.