One of the biggest hindrances to stopping the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the widespread refusal of many to acknowledge the virus’s very existence. In Liberia, a country where nearly half the population is under 18, health workers have devised a truly ingenious way to get life-saving health advice to the people: sing it in a pop song.
The “Ebola is real” song is nearly as catchy as the virus it was named after. The song is a collaboration between Liberian artists F.A., Soul Fresh, and DenG, and UNICEF Liberia. It blends important health advice with popular hip-hop beats. “It’s the most-played song right now,” Adolphus Scott, a Liberian communications specialist for UNICEF, explained to The Atlantic. The song uses colloquial phrases spoken by Liberian youth in an effort to get important Ebola prevention advice to those who need it most. Surprisingly, “Ebola is real” is not the only virus-themed track that’s currently getting airtime in Liberia. The smooth “State of Emergency” and electronic “Ebola in Town” also share the same overall message. “Don’t wait to get Ebola before you believe it," reads one lyric.
The charity has even created a more age-appropriate Ebola awareness song for older radio listeners. We're facing the same issues that Coca-Cola faces. Different messages are more effective with different audiences, and different routes of delivering the message are more effective with different audiences," Sheldon Yett, UNICEF's country representative in Liberia, told The Atlantic.
In the largest-ever Ebola outbreak, UNICEF is doing all it can to help citizens correctly protect themselves against the virus. In addition to the pop songs and informative posters, the charity has sent out volunteers to affected communities, asked DJs to read scripts aloud on the radio, and has created American-inspired PSAs, all with the same message: “Together Liberia will win the fight against Ebola.