reach52 launches its COVID-19 Information & Symptom Checker into Senegal and Kenya
This week, reach52 is launching its COVID-19 Information and Symptom Checker in Senegal and Kenya to support rural communities during the global pandemic. Residents in these remote communities can use the reach52 chatbot service via Facebook Messenger to get the facts vs myths on COVID-19 to overcome misinformation, check their COVID-19 symptoms and get advice based on WHO guidelines. reach52 has partnered with leading global consultancy, Dalberg, to support the launch of the service into Africa, and plans to expand into additional African countries over the coming weeks.
Incorrect and false information about COVID-19 has been a significant problem in the global response to the pandemic, with the COVID-19 ‘Infodemic’ putting lives at risk. In particular, rural communities often lack the latest approved guidance on COVID-19 symptoms, preventing prompt action to help prevent the spread of the disease.
reach52’s COVID-19 Information & Symptom Checker chatbot is already used by thousands of residents in rural communities in the Philippines, Cambodia and India, and was highlighted as a top project at the #BuildforCOVID19 global online hackathon organised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and tech giants such as Facebook and Microsoft.
Health chatbots are supporting the expansion of reach52’s digital health systems for any community, anywhere on earth, providing access to screening, diagnostics, medicines, insurance and health workers where traditional services don’t reach.
Rich Bryson, reach52’s Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer, comments “People in remote communities often can’t get the facts about COVID-19 or services to check symptoms. Our COVID-19 Information and Symptom Checker helps them do both via Facebook Messenger on their mobile. The chatbot has been widely used in South East Asia, supporting our on-the-ground digital health services in over 400 communities, so we want to make it accessible to more communities in need of support during the pandemic”.
Despite the pandemic, reach52 experienced our most impactful year to-date in 2021. Read our impact report for more on our tech developments, growing global presence and campaign spotlights.
Co-authored by reach52’s John Paluyo, reach52 alumni Rich Bryson and Medtronic Labs’ Anne Stake.
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) continue to be the leading cause of death globally, with four out of five people with an NCD living in LMICs. However, there is limited availability of affordable diagnostics for NCDs at the primary care level in many rural populations, making it one of the weakest links in the cascade of care. New innovations are needed to reach these populations with the accessible diagnostics services they need.