Vodafone, Vodacom and Safaricom are supporting the African Union as it seeks to deploy more medical specialists to reach the areas in West Africa worse-affected by the Ebola outbreak.
A total donation of $1.25 million has been made to the African Union’s ‘United Against Ebola’ appeal, Médecins Sans Frontières and Vodafone HealthLine in Ghana. Vodafone Group has made a $500,000 donation to the African Union’s appeal, while Vodacom, the African communications company majority-owned by Vodafone, and Safaricom, Vodafone’s affiliate in Kenya, have each contributed $250,000 to the appeal.
The Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone's philanthropic arm, is also supporting the effort to ensure medical attention and advice reaches the people who need it most. The Foundation has given a total of $250,000 to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), helping with the NGO’s supply of medical support and resources during the Ebola outbreak, and the Vodafone HealthLine programme, the medical advice and information service from Vodafone Ghana. The funds donated to Vodafone HealthLine in Ghana have been used to increase capacity, as there has been a rise in calls to the service with more people enquiring about symptoms in wake of the Ebola outbreak. Prompted by MSF's response to the Ebola outbreak, the Vodafone Foundation made an £80,000 ($125,000) donation to support its work.
Safaricom, Vodacom and Vodafone Ghana are also harnessing the power of mobile technology to help raise further funds in the countries in which they operate. They are part of an African Union-led SMS fundraising campaign, which uses the short code 7979 with local adaptations. People have been asked to text ‘Stop Ebola’ to this code in order to donate in their respective countries.
Ebola has claimed more than 5,000 lives across some parts of West Africa since it was first reported in Guinea in December 2013. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), this is the largest outbreak on the continent, affecting mostly Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
Earlier this month, the African Union announced the deployment of 250 Nigerian health workers to the worse-affected areas of West Africa to help fight the Ebola disease. The funds from Vodafone, Vodacom and Safaricom will be used to fund the deployment of these and other health workers.
Vodafone Group Foundation Director Andrew Dunnett said: “There is an urgent need to act fast to provide medical attention for people in the hardest hit areas of West Africa. The African Union’s appeal is bringing together companies with a presence all over Africa to provide much-needed, immediate medical support, while mobile technology, the most powerful communications platform across Africa, will provide a means for further fundraising to help fight the Ebola outbreak.”
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Vodafone is one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 55 more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets. As of 30 September 2014, Vodafone had 438 million mobile customers and 11 million fixed broadband customers. For more information, please visit: www.vodafone.com.
Vodacom is a leading African mobile communications company providing a wide range of services including mobile voice, messaging, data and converged services to more than 60 million customers. From our roots in South Africa, we’ve grown our mobile operations to include networks in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, and Lesotho.
We also offer business managed services to enterprises in over 40 countries across Africa. Vodacom is majority owned by Vodafone, one of the world’s largest mobile communications companies by revenue. We’re listed on the JSE Limited and our head office is in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Safaricom transforms lives. We provide voice, data, financial services and enterprise solutions for a range of subscribers, small businesses and government, using a variety of platforms. As the biggest communication company in East and Central Africa, Safaricom has over 21 million subscribers, providing over 200,000 touch points for its customers and offering over 100 different products under its portfolio. Listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange and with annual revenues in excess of Kshs 100 Billion, Safaricom invested Kshs 27.78 billion in infrastructure this year, providing over half of Kenya’s population with 3G coverage and providing 2G coverage to 90% of Kenyans. Safaricom has harnessed its proprietary fibre infrastructure to build a dedicated enterprise business which provides managed IT services to clients in the East African region. Safaricom pioneered commercial mobile money transfer globally through M-PESA, the most successful service of its kind anywhere in the world. Launched in March 2007, M-PESA now has over 19 million customers and over 81,000 Agent outlets countrywide.