- Facebook to launch WhatsApp Business API, a dedicated Coronavirus hotline – 0110-719719
Facebook has partnered with the Kenyan government to keep Kenyans safe and informed by facilitating better communication around the COVID-19 pandemic.
Facebook through its messaging platform with 9.9 Million active monthly users, it will enable educational pop-ups on search results around the virus.
It will also provide the Ministry of Health with free ad credits to enable them to run coronavirus education campaigns on its platforms.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Facebook will soon be launching a WhatsApp Business API, a dedicated Coronavirus hotline – 0110-719719.
The Coronavirus hotline is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will enable Kenyans to get answers to the most common questions about Coronavirus from the Ministry of Health 24 hours a day.
The service will also provide information on topics such as Coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the country, advice on staying at home, travel advisory and mythbusting.
The service will also enable the Ministry of Health to send urgent messages to all Kenyans who will opt-in for the service.
Commenting on this, Facebook’s Head of Public Policy for East Africa, Mercy Ndegwa said: “COVID-19 has presented immense challenges that require concerted efforts from governments, technology companies, and civil society. We are committed to working with all relevant bodies, both locally and globally to respond to this ever-evolving situation. As always, we encourage all users to check the facts via official public health agencies before sharing messages that have been forwarded to them, and to engage directly with trusted and official sources for important information.”
Kenya Government Spokesperson Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna welcomed the collaboration with Facebook and described the platform as an important tool in disseminating developing information about COVID-19.
“As a government, we are deploying both traditional and digital communications tools to disseminate trusted information about this virus. We welcome Facebook’s partnership in helping to reach and interact with a wider segment of the population, so we can share the facts and provide accurate advice.”
Globally, the social media giant has launched a global program to connect government health organizations and the UN with developers to help them use Messenger to share timely and accurate information, and speed up their responses to concerned people.
“Our developer partners have offered to provide their services free of charge to these organizations during this crisis,” Facebook wrote in a statement.