WHO health alert brings COVID-19 facts to billions via WhatsApp

Published: March 21, 2020
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Messaging service will provide the latest news and information on coronavirus including details on symptoms. PHOTO: WHO

Messaging service will provide the latest news and information on coronavirus including details on symptoms. PHOTO: WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched a messaging service with social media giants, WhatsApp and Facebook, to keep people safe from coronavirus.

“This easy-to-use messaging service has the potential to reach two billion people and enables WHO to get information directly into the hands of the people that need it,” said the organisation in an official statement on its websites.

From government leaders to health workers and family and friends, this messaging service will provide the latest news and information on coronavirus including details on symptoms and how people can protect themselves and others, said the WHO communique.

“It also provides the latest situation reports and numbers in real time to help government decision-makers protect the health of their populations.”

The service can be accessed through a link that opens a conversation on WhatsApp. Users can simply type “hi” to activate the conversation, prompting a menu of options that can help answer their questions about COVID-19.

The WHO Health Alert was developed in collaboration with Praekelt.Org, using Turn machine learning technology.

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