The British Red Cross uses mobile cinema to tackle cholera in Sierra Leone
This deadly disease has already killed more than 250 people and affected 16,000 more, spreading fear among many communities. In order to tackle the epidemic a Mobile Cinema is visiting those communities worst affected by the cholera outbreak, making sure they understand how cholera is spread and how to protect themselves.
The Mobile Cinema tour has already reached more than 1,000 people, gathering crowds of 350 to 400 people per night. The service is being delivered by Sierra Leone Red Cross Society volunteers and staff, the cinema includes community discussions and hygiene promotion activities.
As well as being potentially lifesaving, the events are designed to be really interactive and fun. It kicks off by asking people what they already know about cholera and why they think their community is vulnerable to it, for example a lack of toilets or access to clean water. Then the health team talk about prevention and treatment, for example how to make a home-made sugar and salt rehydration solution.
Next the film is shown, a short animated movie about the impact of cholera on one village and how the community tackle it. Then the Red Cross staff and volunteers reopen the debate about what could change in this community to make it safer and protect people from cholera. Finally, they encourage people to ask questions and finish by showing the film again.
The cinema is scheduled to visit 50 communities and schools across the north of Sierra Leone and will also provide bars of soap and take-home leaflets on cholera prevention and treatment to everyone who attends. It is already making a big difference to people’s lives. One woman who came to the screening, Annie Kamara, from Kissy Town, about two hours from Freetown, said: “I have had cholera twice now and I thought you caught it through the air so I didn’t know how to stop that. Now I know I need to wash my hands and only drink safe water. Now I will not catch cholera a third time!”
During a cholera outbreak, prevention and early treatment is critical and saves lives. Through the cinema we can make sure people know how to protect themselves and also how, where and when to get help if they do get sick.
The British Red Cross will also equip each local branch of the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society with its own mini-cinema kit so they can continue spreading the message to smaller villages and communities throughout their district.Tagged in: Cholera, cinema, Freetown, Red Cross, sierra leone
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