Reaching Media-Dark Communities During Lockdown
Updated: Nov 29, 2021
During our 2020 year-end campaign, software design engineer, Bill Evans, shared a project that gave him hope during the dark days of lockdown.
As I watched COVID-19 cases soar and our nation shut down last spring, I didn’t know what to do. I was overwhelmed. Here we all were, stuck at home and feeling helpless, as the reality of lockdown was sinking in. And then our colleagues in Ghana came up with a plan. Because their government’s COVID-19 response was focused on two major cities, the Amplio Ghana team decided to launch public health campaign in the Upper West Region. They mobilized to help save lives!
In the Upper West Region, Ghana community health nurses use the Talking Book to inform mothers about COVID-19 and maternal and child health. Photo: UNICEF Ghana
The Ghana government’s COVID-19 response did not reach the poorest and most vulnerable rural districts, but we did.
In partnership with UNICEF, and with donor support, we provided Talking Books loaded with COVID-19 messages to Ghana Health Service. As a result, community health nurses and volunteers were able to deliver consistent and reliable health information in local languages to “media dark” communities in remote rural communities. The Talking Book was recognized by the World Bank as a simple technology for spreading the word about COVID-19, and we continue to use Talking Books in Ghana to share information on symptoms and prevention strategies, as well as other emerging health issues.
In the midst of a global pandemic, our Ghana team saw an opportunity to act. They partnered with district health directors and traditional leaders to record COVID-19 endorsement messages and get everyone on board. Talking Book messages reached over 200,000 people in eight districts in the Upper West region, enabling access to critical health information.
I got to do a tiny part to help out, and that gave me hope during the lockdown. Mass media may not reach the most underserved people in rural, remote communities—but Talking Books do, and so can you.
Your donation allows us to update and improve our technology and help our partners continue to share life-saving knowledge about key health issues.
On behalf of Amplio and our partners, thank you. We’re grateful for your support!
Bill Evans, Senior Software Design Engineer, Amplio
A veteran of the software industry, Bill Evans started out supporting room-sized mainframe systems for the healthcare industry in 1978. At Microsoft, he was a founding member of the team that created the .NET development environment, and he later worked on the Kindle reader at Amazon. Bill leads the development of Talking Book devices and software.