West Africans Get Creative With Ebola Awareness Campaigns

From soapy water bucket challenges to rap songs, residents are launching new ways to educate each other about the deadly virus.

Posted: 08/28/2014 10:15 AM EDT

Hoping to piggyback off of the ice bucket challenge that has raised tens of millions of dollars for ALS, an Ivorian blogger launched her own spin on the viral sensation.

"Our greatest threat right now is Ebola,” Edith Brou told AP.

Ivory Coast’s “Lather Against Ebola” — also known by its French name #MousserContreEbola — encourages each participant to dump a bucket of soapy water over their heads and give away three bottles of hand sanitizer in order to raise awareness about the deadly disease. Those who turn down the challenge must hand out nine bottles. Since launching on Aug. 18, the challenge has spawned dozens of soap-soaking videos online.

"Ivorians take the drama out of everything through humor," said Brou. "But in spite of the funny aspect of it, the message is forwarded on and listened to.”

Additional creative initiatives, such as songs, music videos and sketches, have also been kicked off across West Africa to educate about the prevention of Ebola, which is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids of infected people and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.

"No touching! No eating something!” Liberian rappers Shadow and D-12 warn listeners in their hit song “Ebola in Town." Liberian soccer star and former presidential candidate George Weah also recorded a song titled “Ebola Is Real” earlier this month. In their country, more than 1,000 people have been infected and at least 624 killed.

Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria have also been hit by the wide-spread virus. The World Health Organization reported that Ebola has infected more than 2,600 people and killed more than 1,400 in four countries throughout West Africa.

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 (Photo: AP Photo/Sevi Herve Gbekide )

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