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World Health Organisation Launches Facebook Messenger Chatbot For Covid-19 Information


Facebook [Photo/Courtesy]

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a chatbot on Facebook Mmessenger to provide users with accurate and timely information regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

Built in collaboration with Software company Spriklr, the Interactive Health Alert Service will take advantage of Messenger’s reach of up to 1.3 billion users to provide a platform where one can get quick access to topics relating to Covid-19.

Facebook has said that many users around the world were turning to platforms like messenger to get more information about the virus.

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“In many of the regions hit hardest by COVID-19, total messaging through Facebook’s family of apps has increased by more than 50 percent,” Facebook said.

Some information that is accessible through the service include; the latest numbers of confirmed cases, travelling advice, tips for protecting oneself, commonly asked questions and their answers as well as links to any news updates from W.H.O.

The service is available in four languages; English, French, Arabic and Spanish.

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Combatting misinformation

There is also a special ‘ Mythbusters’ section on the service dedicated to debunking misinformation about the Coronavirus.

Here is a short fact-check of myths going round

  • A hot shower cannot kill the Coronavirus
  • Cold weather and snow cannot kill the Coronavirus
  • Spraying chlorine or alcohol all over your body cannot kill viruses that have already entered your body.
  • Hand dryers do not kill the virus
  • Although it’s healthy, there is no evidence from the outbreak that eating garlic can prevent you from catching the virus
  • There is no cure or vaccine recommended to date.

To access the free service, simply send a “get started” message to the official World Health Organization profile page on Facebook.

WHO previously launched similar services via Whatsapp. The chatbot is currently in use by about 12 million people globally and WHO is targeting 50 million users.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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