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WhatsApp bot to deliver WHO recommendations in real time

Shared by Ana Ribeiro on 2020-05-25 12:41

About the solution

During the Covid-19 pandemic it was very important for people to have access to the latest information about the spread of the disease and the safety measures that must be followed. To ensure that, a South African non-profit organization created a WhatsApp bot that can deliver the latest information to millions of people. Gustav Praekelt, founder of the organization, explained what was the motivation : “We were worried that our users wouldn't have access to a trusted source of information. So people hear rumors and they hear stories, and people get panicky and worried about what they should do, to keep themselves healthy, especially as all the lockdowns started happening.”

The Whatsapp bot, called COVID-19 Health Alert, is essentially a helpline through which people can access realtime data and automated responses to the most commonly asked questions. They also aim to stop the spread of misinformation about the pandemic. “We're now launching in many, many, many languages, and on that bot, you can find out information but we also publish falsehoods and myths. Because sometimes what happens is you need to actively counteract the falsehoods”, explained Praekelt.

Just 10 days after launch, the service, available in several languages, had reached 3.5 million users. Due to this tremendous success, they have partnered with the World Health Organization to set up the WHO Health Alert, to reach a global audience, and are also partnering with national health authorities of countries all around the world. At the moment, this messaging service is available in 11 languages and has reached 12.6 million users, but they hope to reach the entire world population, to “get the information directly into the hands of the people that need it.”

Adapted from: https://www.voanews.com/africa/south-african-created-mobile-alert-puts-c...

More information: https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/who-health-alert-br...
https://www.praekelt.org/covid-19-response-who

This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

About the author

Praekelt.org is a South African non-profit organization that builds open source, scalable mobile technologies and solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in poverty. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they developed a WhatsApp bot to deliver real time accurate information about the Covid-19 pandemic to millions of people. The bot has been adopted by the WHO as a way to spread official information to a global audience.

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