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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

GW Study: Educational Films and Discussions Increased Knowledge Aimed at Ebola Prevention in Central African Villages

An educational film followed by a structured discussion of Ebola Virus Disease improved the knowledge, attitudes and protective behaviors for people living in the Congo, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Health Communication.

[Photo: Dr. Amira Roess]

Dr. Amira Roess, an assistant professor of global health at George Washington University (GW) Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) and her colleagues wondered if an educational film might help dispel such myths and teach Congolese villagers how to protect themselves during the next outbreak.

The team, led by a documentary film maker from the International Conservation and Education Fund (INCEF), first developed a series of short films for a Congolese audience in local languages featuring doctors and residents of the Congo Basin, an area that is at very high risk for Ebola. About 64,087 men, women and children in 81 villages viewed the films and participated in a post-film discussion about Ebola over a 12-month period.

Dr. Roess and her colleagues found that 65.9 percent of participants could identify a symptom of Ebola prior to the intervention. That number rose to 97.3 percent after the films and discussion groups. “Our evaluation demonstrates that video-centered educational interventions are effective in improving knowledge of disease recognition, transmission and mitigation,” Dr. Roess said.

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