COVID-19: UNDP partners with WHO, UNICEF and WhatsApp to get real time health information to billions around the world

Friday, 03 April 2020

ICMIF partner organisation the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in conjunction with the World Health Organization and UNICEF have launched the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub in partnership with Whatsapp.

The hub provides simple, actionable guidance for all types of organisations that rely on WhatsApp to communicate with others including health workers, educators, community leaders, nonprofits, local governments and local businesses. The site also offers general tips and resources for users around the world to reduce the spread of rumours and help people connect with accurate health information.

These recommendations provide quick guidance on how small groups can make the most of WhatsApp features, and are being distributed by UNDP to those coordinating local efforts.

The UNDP says an important part of the new partnership is a dedicated messaging service in Arabic, English, French and Spanish managed by WHO to keep people safe from coronavirus. This easy-to-use messaging service has the potential to reach 2 billion people and enables information to be shared directly with the people that need it.

“Getting up to date information about COVID-19 to local communities around the world is a critical piece of the international community’s efforts to stem the spread of the virus,” said Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). “Partnerships with private sector companies like WhatsApp will help get this vital, real time information from the World Health Organization and local health officials to billions of users around the globe.”

To date, WhatsApp has worked with a number of national health ministries and NGOs to provide factual information to users via text in countries including Singapore, Israel, South Africa, Brazil, and Indonesia. As these efforts continue, the hub will be updated with the latest resources.

One of the biggest challenges for governments, public health authorities and citizens around the world, according to the UNDP, is to ensure everyone has access to accurate and reliable information and to counter incorrect and misleading information circulating on social media.

From government leaders to health workers and any/all private individuals, this messaging service provides the latest news and information on coronavirus including details on symptoms and how people can protect themselves and others. It also provides the latest situation reports and numbers in real-time to help government decision-makers protect the health of their populations.

The UNDP invites all ICMIF member organisations to share information on the new WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub with their member policyholders through their usual distribution channels to help them find the latest, accurate information on the coronavirus situation. The material is currently available in 58 languages and this number is growing.

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

Join WHO's Health Alert on WhatsApp:

Arabic

Send "مرحبا"  to +41 22 501 70 23 on WhatsApp

wa.me/41225017023?text=مرحبا

French

Send "salut" to +41 22 501 72 98 on WhatsApp

wa.me/41225017298?text=salut

Spanish

Send "hola" to +41 22 501 76 90 on WhatsApp

wa.me/41225017690?text=hola

English

Send "hi" to +41 79 893 18 92 on WhatsApp

wa.me/41798931892?text=hi

If you are reading this communication on your mobile phone and you have WhatsApp installed then the links above will take you directly to the hub. Otherwise, please send the appropriate greeting listed above to the number shown for your chosen language and this will open the hub in WhatsApp on your device.