Vodafone, Vodacom and Safaricom have joined hands in supporting the African Union as it seeks to deploy more medical specialists to reach the areas in West Africa which are 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, 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) 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.
According to a statemet by Vodafone, all three companies 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.